Today in Surat the temperature was around 34 degrees centigrade – with a “real feel” of forty. After long day in a heat whose behaviour borders on the impertinent there is only one thing to do – DRINK! (and I don’t mean water). I’ve had my fill of iced coffees, smoothies, Peter Vella box wine, spurious “GinTonic” and “Magarita” (sic). The only thing to do when you want something a bit different in this town is improvise with what you have, so, in the interests of culinary experimentation and discovery, may I present what I believe might be the first Surat Snippets Recipe (naturally it’s for booze): The Surat Thani Iced Tea (or a DirThai Rascal for my British friends ;) )
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Gin: I like Tanqueray for this because of the juniper but something lighter like Bombay Sapphire might also do. You could also try vodka or whisky. I haven’t yet but, hey, go for it.
Ginger Ale: Known here as “Nam Khing”. It’s basically Canada Dry in a red can.
Earl Grey teabags (the above three can be found in Tesco Lotus or Tops market in Central)
Mango slices (available sliced and ready to eat from just about everywhere for around 20 baht)
1 or 2 limes
1 or 2 tsp of chilli sugar (it’ll probably come with your mango slices)
First make an iced tea in a big chilled jug lined, funnily enough, with ice. Brew as many teabags as you think you’ll need based on quantity vs. strength. I recommend Earl Grey because it’s not too overpowering and the bergamot oils infuse brilliantly with the gin. Brew them properly in a cup or a pot before allowing to cool and adding to the jug. Pop in a few mango slices and the juice from your limes and top up with water if it looks too strong. Add the chilli sugar to taste (I find a teaspoonful gives a nice “bite” to the fruity tea) and chill until ready. Ta Daaah…Oh. This will probably take a while. Now’s a good time to go out and buy the gin! It is after five, yes?........time passes………we get thirstier……….
Return with your gin…and the milk…and the washing powder and the numerous other small items you put in the basket just so the cashier wouldn’t think you’re a raging alcoholic. Put the gin in the freezer along with a wine glass ; it should be ice cold when ready to serve and you also need to chill the ginger ale. Best put a can of that in the freezer too. At this point, you’re probably wondering where you can buy a cocktail shaker. Never mind. After a short while return to the freezer so the fun can start. Mix up your gin and ginger ale in your chilled glass. I like to go 50/50 but each to their own. Add plenty of ice before topping up with your delicious fruit infused spicy tea and don’t forget to leave a bit of space in the glass so the aromas can do their magic. Hey presto! The best of British tea and booze fused with the vibrant fruits and spices of Thailand. Of course, you could enjoy the iced tea by itself but now you have a ready to go cocktail that will last – well - as long as the gin does. Chock dee!