The combination of vanilla and earl grey is one of my very favorites- and is employed in everything from popsicles to cookies. In the winter, I love to add homemade vanilla simple syrup to my earl grey tea, then cap it off with a dose of whole milk or half and half. This is the summer variation of my winter stand by.
In this recipe, I like to use a “left-over” vanilla bean. I find many recipes call for the seeds and I often have vanilla bean shells laying around. This is the perfect use for them.
Makes 5-6 8 oz drinks
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup water
1 Vanilla Bean
3-4 Bags of Earl Grey tea
Half and Half or Whole Milk
To make the simple syrup, combine the vanilla bean and sugar in a small saucepan. Rub the vanilla bean in the sugar, until the mixture is fragrant. Add the earl grey tea and water. If you want extra earl grey oomph, use four bags of tea. I like to use three, for just a hint of bergamot. Heat on medium low and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat, and use tongs to remove the tea bags. Leaving the tea bags in the mixture will make the syrup bitter. Allow syrup to cool before using. I like to let it sit overnight.
To make the soda: Fill an 8 oz glass 3/4ths full with seltzer water. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup syrup, depending on desired sweetness. Top with half and half. If you are feeling extra devious, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and make yourself an Earl Grey Cream Cow.