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Y’all know how I feel about Earl Grey tea, right? I mean, I buy it by the case. It’s my one true addiction. It could be worse, right?
I also like coffee occasionally. If it’s good coffee. And if it contains cream and sugar. So I was rather intrigued when I heard about something called, “The Dirty Earl”.
During our most recent trip to New Orleans I was chatting with the drummer for one of the bands we enjoy. We are also friends on Facebook and share a love of vinyl albums. He couldn’t help but notice my obsession with Earl Grey tea so he told me about his special treat, “The Dirty Earl” – Earl Grey tea, simple syrup with vanilla, frothed milk and a shot of espresso.
I was dubious. Countless times I’ve tried to make myself a cup of tea in a hotel only to have it taste faintly of coffee. That’s always disappointing.
But I’m usually game for trying something new so I figured I’d give it a shot. I went to the coffee shop where Charles buys his coffee and asked for a Dirty Earl. The girl at the cash register was a bit confused because it isn’t on the menu. I described it to her and she called it out to the woman making the drinks. When the woman heard the ingredients, she said, “Oh, a Dirty Earl”. Then someone else said, “Is Charles here?”. A man known by his drink. Love it!
Guess what? It was delicious! Rather than coffee-tinged tea like my sad experiences in hotel tea-making, this was more like a cappuccino with a hint of Earl Grey. It sounds weird but it’s actually very good.
Last night I decided to replicate the Dirty Earl here at home so I could share it with you. So here goes:
- 8 ounces of hot, strong Earl Grey tea
- 2 ounces of milk, steamed and frothed
- simple syrup with vanilla - to taste
- 1 shot of espresso
- Make simple syrup. Combine water and sugar in equal measure in small saucepan, bring to a boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Decant into a glass bottle and add vanilla. I used 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of vanilla.
- Prepare Earl Grey tea. Put tea bag (or use loose leaf tea) in 8 ounces of water freshly boiled. Brew for 3-5 minutes and remove tea bag.
- Meanwhile, make espresso.
- Heat milk and froth.
- Add vanilla flavored simple syrup to hot tea to taste - one to three teaspoons.
- Add hot, frothed milk.
- Pour in shot of espresso.
Last night I started by making a double batch of simple syrup – 2 cups of water to 2 cups of sugar. I divided it into two bottles and only added vanilla to one of them. It’s handy to have plain simple syrup on hand for other drinks, like my Earl Grey Martini, for instance.
David made the espresso for me in the stove-top espresso maker I bought him for Christmas.
He also heated and frothed the milk in this:
With all the ingredients ready it was time for me to put them all together.
Start with the cup of hot tea, add vanilla-flavored simple syrup, carefully add the frothed milk and then pour in the espresso. And there you have it – The Dirty Earl.
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If I had no other choice, I could maybe tolerate cappuccino. But I’d have to literally have no other option and be really thirsty. That’s as close as I get to being OK with coffee flavoured things. So, I think I’ll give this one a miss.