Last weekend, we were on site at the Calgary Stampede Kitchen Theatre as part of our collaboration with the Calgary-based mobile luxury espresso bar, Latte Art Love. We combine our passions for coffee & cocktails into a project known as The Barista & The Bartender.
On Sunday, we celebrated Canadian Heritage by sharing a demonstration of a drink we’ve entitled The TransCanada Iced Tea. This mocktail uses Oolong tea as its base, combined with lemon juice, our signature B&B Raspberry Coffee & Cocktail Syrup and ginger ale to create a refreshing libation suitable for any Canadian summer celebration and tells two tales from Canada’s West and East.
From the West, represented by the Oolong tea – When British Columbia agreed to join Confederation in 1871, one of the conditions was that the Dominion government build a railway linking B.C. with eastern Canada within 10 years. Sir John A MacDonald insisted the the project cut costs by employing Chinese to build the railway. Many workers came from GuangDong Province (also a source of Oolong tea). They worked long hours and were piad lower wages than than non-Chinese workers and dangerous working conditions, in order to support their families that stayed in China.
From the East, ginger ale – After seeing the popularity of a sweet, golden ginger ale across the border in the United States, in 1904, Canadian pharmacist and chemist named John McLauhlin decided to make his own version of this carbonated beverage. His recipe was less sweet (more dry) and aptly named Canada Dry Ginger Ale. His impeccable timing of exporting this beverage across the border and the introduction of a piece of legislation known as the Volstead Act introducing an era of Prohibition across the United States, paired with Canada Dry’s ease at mixing in alcohols of both higher and lower qualities (without much of the unwanted flavour of the low quality spirits at the time), made this a popular choice for concealing the presence of alcohol in one’s drink.
The Tie – These two stories meet in the middle of the Canadian Prairies in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Moose Jaw was once one of the wildest frontier towns in the Canadian West. Tunnels were dug beginning in 1908 after several Chinese railway workers were beaten at CPR railyards by whites who believed the workers were taking their jobs. The workers quite literally went underground for their own safety until the situation improved, many doing laundry and lighting furnaces, living with their families unseen. These same tunnels also made Moose Jaw the hub for the Chicago mob bootlegging whisky in the USA. There are many stories of locals working with Al Capone and some of the prominent members of his mob. One witness also reported that the Chinese inhabitants of the tunnels worked with the Chicago mob to aid in this smuggling operation.
1.25 oz twice strength Oolong tea
0.5 oz Barista & Bartender Raspberry Syrup
0.25 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Top with Canada Dry Ginger Ale
Method: Mix the tea, raspberry syrup and lemon juice in a shaker until syrup is dissolved (this rich syrup is thicker than most cocktail syrup and should be blended prior to adding ice). Fill with ice and shake for 7-8 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Top with Canada Dry Ginger Ale and garnish with raspberry and lemon wheel.
Our TransCanada Iced Tea kits are available for purchase at www.baristaandbartender.com.