While our featured cocktail, the High Tea, may not be exactly new on the bar at Maybe Mae in Adelaide, it is an amazingly bright drink that has the advantage of being relatively easy to replicate at home.
Known throughout Adelaide, and interstate, as a bar that is on the cutting edge of the culinary-inspired drinks world, Maybe Mae prides itself on its ability to reinterpreting these influences with unique results.
“A lot of our flavour combinations or inspiration come from food,” bar manager Micheal Keogh explains. “We all research a lot; it’s just something that we’re all very passionate about, and we’re all quite food driven as well.
“We are constantly talking about new ideas that we’ve had or new flavours that we’ve come across. And through that, we explore preservation techniques and clarification techniques and other ways of recreating those flavours in a drink.”
Priding themselves on innovation, Maybe Mae seeks to blend both unconventional and standard ingredients that demonstrate how much the devil really is in the details. As Keogh points out, acid modifying adds that same brightness of real juice, while providing a more delicate flavour profile.
“For us, we brew green tea and let it sit to cool and then we acid modify it to a certain Ph level that is similar to that of Lemon Juice. “We find that Green tea has a softer flavour than Lemon.
While a number of the menu’s offerings utilise a range of modern techniques that are difficult to achieve in a home bar setting, Keogh shows that that the High Tea is at least one drink where, with a simple modification, the same effect is achievable at home.
“We use 20mls of acid modified green tea, but if I was making this at home I would probably use 15mls Green Tea and 15mls of lemon Juice, which will work in the same way.”
When creating new recipes, their focus on fresh, inventive flavour combinations. They start with a flavour, or a combination of flavours, and then explore not only how that can be brought out more fully in the drink achieved but also why and in what form.
“We all put our heads together and come up with a plan for how we’re going to deal with that technique or how we’re going to deal with that flavour, Keogh explains. “We might turn it into a syrup or turn it into a jam or made it into an acid.
“And it’s only then, once we try it all together that we can think about whether our original premise was correct or whether we need to change it and implement it differently.”
While most drinks in this category of flavour tend to be served up in a Coupe glass, Keogh believes that the Coupe also adds an aesthetically pleasing element that only enhances the light, bright and fresh nature of this cocktail.
For a cocktail like the High Tea, Keogh recommends a very Juniper forward Gin. They use Tanqueray but “any sort of London Dry style that has a nice Juniper forward focus but still got some nice light botanicals will work with the drink.”
Keogh points out that even though the Mezcal is d in a relatively small quantity, the smoke element is quite essential to the backbone of the drink. Although they use Del Maguey Vida Mezcal and St Germain for the Elderflower Liqueur, he believes that any Mezcal and Elderflower Liqueur should work well for this drink.
As any bartender will tell you, fresh is always best when it comes to juice. Keogh points out that if you need to juice a large number of any fruit at once, then making it into a Syrup is an excellent way to preserve it.
“We obviously go through a fair amount of Pineapple Juice, so we’ll juice 5 or 6 pineapples at once. Usually, we will then cook it with a little bit of sugar syrup but that’s only to stabilise it, that’s not to impart any additional flavour.”
While the staff of Maybe Mae always encourage the idea experimentation, they are also the first to stress that some experimentation at home can be more dangerous than not.
Although in most ways this cocktail is relatively straight forward, Keogh warns that attempting to acid modify the green tea at home is unwise.
“With both Citric and Malic Acid it’s often easier than you think to burn the palette. If you are not careful, you can not only ruin your drinking experience with this cocktail but also ruin your eating experience with food. You can do some real damage, so instead use the equal parts of green tea and lemon juice.”
15mls Elderflower Liqueur
20mls Pineapple Syrup
30mls Green Tea /Lemon Juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker and then fine strain into a Coupe glass. Finish with a few drops of Sesame Oil as garnish.