John’s Blend

Peter Hannah | Orlando, FL

MIB 2023 Peter Hannah John's Blend

John’s Blend—the winning drink from the 2023 Most Imaginative Bartender competition, by Liverpool-bred, Orlando-based bartender Peter Hannah—is a gin-based riff on an Irish Coffee that gets its depth from the complex flavors of Bombay Sapphire Gin. 

Hannah’s desire to seek out new expressions of familiar cocktails led him to explore as his template a hot gin drink, a style not often seen on cocktail competition stages, where shaken drinks tend to dominate.

“I feel like being creative is about doing different things rather than just doing the same things again and again,” he says. 

Cacao-infused simple syrup nods to the Alexander cocktail, while a blend of Assam tea and spices complements the spirit’s herbal notes and evokes a strong British cuppa. A topping of whipped cream brings silky smoothness to the drink’s texture, while a spray of lemon herb hydrosol highlights the bright citrus aromatics of the Bombay Sapphire Gin. A three-ingredient drink, it’s a testament to how simplicity and complexity can complement each other.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/4 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 1 1/4 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 2 3/4 ounces Lennon’s Evening Tea (see Editor’s Note)
  • 2 3/4 ounces Lennon’s Evening Tea (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/4 ounce cacao simple syrup (see Editor’s Note)
  • 1/4 ounce cacao simple syrup (see Editor’s Note)

Garnish: 3/4 ounce heavy cream, lemon herb hydrosol (see Editor’s Note)

  1. Combine gin, hot Lennon’s Evening Tea and cacao simple syrup in a 6-ounce Irish Coffee glass.
  2. Shake heavy cream gently in a shaker for 6 to 7 seconds, then pour on top.
  3. Spray lemon herb hydrosol on the side of the glass.
Editor's Note

Lennon’s Evening Tea
100 grams Assam tea leaves
15 grams vanilla bean seeds, scraped from the inside of the pods
15 grams ground cinnamon
10 grams dried lemon peel, cut into tiny pieces
10 grams Demerara sugar
500 milliliters boiling water

Combine dry ingredients in a heat-safe container and add boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes, then strain through a chinois lined with a coffee filter. Store in a hot thermos for up to a few hours.

Cacao Syrup
Combine 4 ounces of granulated sugar with 1 ounce of cacao powder and run through a food processor for 60 to 90 seconds. Add 2 1/2 ounces of water to the mixture and stir until well-combined. Keeps, refrigerated, for up to 2 months.

Lemon Herb Hydrosol
Place a large heat-safe bowl upside-down in the center of a large pot. Place a small heat-safe bowl, facing up, on top of the large bowl, in order to catch the hydrosol water. Fill the pot with water until it reaches just below the rim of the upside-down bowl, and then add 150 grams each of dried lemon verbena, dried lemon myrtle and dried lemon thyme to the water. Place the pot’s lid, with the handle facing down, on top of the pot.

Fill a large freezer bag with ice, seal the bag, and place it in the cavity of the upside-down lid. Bring the water in the pot to a boil, then lower the temperature to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Replace the bag of ice as it melts. As the water boils, it will remove the oils from the herbs, which will rise in the steam and hit the lid, where the lower temperature of the ice will condense it into liquid, which will fall into the small bowl.

Remove the pot from the heat and remove the lid. Carefully lift out the small bowl and add the contents to an atomizer. Store in a cool, dry place for up to several weeks.