Did you know afternoon tea was invented to curb hunger? In England during the mid-19th Century, Anna, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, found herself a little peckish in the late afternoon. With lunch served early in the day and dinner not expected until the fashionably late hour of 9 p.m., she rang for a tray of snacks to quash her cravings. The ritual became a habit and the rest is history.
Not to be confused with high tea, which, as Calgary’s etiquette coach Ms. Modern Manners explains, is a hearty supper served between 5 and 7 p.m., afternoon tea is a selection of finger foods served between 2 and 4 p.m.. “Unless you’re serving cake, you usually don’t need forks at afternoon tea,” says Ms. Modern Manners. “Moving from savoury to sweet, you start with small sandwiches on the bottom of a three-tiered stand, then scones, jam and clotted cream in the middle, finishing with bite-size sweets on top.” To learn more about the art of etiquette, follow @msmodernmanners on Instagram.
Calgary offers some tea-rific options to help us enjoy this ritual at home.
Eau Claire Distillery
Elevate your afternoon tea with Eau Claire Distillery’s Earl Grey Gin, developed in partnership with Calgary’s Dorian Hotel. Best described as classic, juniper-forward gin with a twist, it is layered with flavours reminiscent of Earl Grey tea. The addition of tea leaves in this distillation yields a slightly tannic finish which pairs perfectly with the subtle citrus notes and herbaceous flavours of juniper and coriander. The design on the bottle is a showstopper as well. Available at liquor stores around the city.
Earl Grey Gin | Eau Claire Distillery | $52.95 | eauclairedistillery.ca