I was recently gifted a bottle of sweet tea vodka and ooooh man it is yummy. Upon receiving said bottle, the first thing I did was sniff it: to my surprise it actually smelled like tea. This was exciting. When I see flavored liquor, it pretty immediately calls to mind those horrifying electric-hued bottles claiming to taste “just like pop-tarts/mint chocolate chip ice cream/marshmallow fluff.” I once had to endure a truly horrifying shot of birthday cake-flavored vodka, which, if you know anything about my penchant for desserts, was insulting on so very many levels. While I know this is not always the case with flavored liquors, I’m often wary. So imagine my joy upon taking that first sip and being greeted by a very real tea taste. Let’s also note the joy that comes with getting a present out of nowhere. Presents are f u n. Even more fun when they are alcohol-oriented. Because that means the gift-giver is immediately entitled to a cocktail, preferably one that is custom-made. Since few things feel more summery to me than a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea, I thought a thought I often think: let’s add alcohol to it. And I’m pretty sure I did alright. (If you want to find this particular brand of sweet tea vodka, it's Deep Eddy.)
Muddle ginger in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with a generous amount of ice. Add vodka, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well (20 seconds should do the trick!) Strain into a coupe/martini glass. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass, then float it on top as garnish. Alternatively: muddle the ginger and add the liquids. Stir well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, doing the same with the lemon peel as mentioned earlier.
Rebecca Firkser is a freelance food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, among them Food52, TASTE, Edible Manhattan, Extra Crispy, The Strategist, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish and Basically. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl.