We sat down with Beverage Consultant, Ethan Hertz, to talk tea, cocktails and shrub. Ethan worked with Storm&India to create the captivating Runaway Tea Cocktail, has worked in some of the best bars in Australia and is recognised as one of the top 25 bartenders in the world. He’s now based in New Zealand helping restaurants and bars reach for the stars. Just a few minutes with Ethan and we were struck by his passion for fresh flavours, love of the hospitality industry and his unstoppable energy to get people drinking better.

How did you meet Storm&India?
I met India and her mum, Dooley, through Nic Watt when I was working as Head Barman at Huami Restaurant in Sky City Auckland. I worked closely with India and Dooley to develop the Runaway recipes, and they handmade the cocktails and mocktails for the Playpark Summer Pop Up.

How did you develop the Runaway Tea Cocktails?
Storm&India Runaway Tea has some beautiful botanicals going on – the delicate rose, orange and bergamot. I have a holistic approach to flavours, and used the tea profile as a base to create my flavour web. Fresh raspberries balanced with lime and vinegar provided the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Rogue Society Gin and yellow Chartreuse create a classic cocktail that’s bursting with freshness from the fruit and tea.

Why should we be making shrub?
Shrub has been around for centuries and originated as a way to preserve the full flavour from fruit off-season. For the Runaway shrub, I preserved raspberries with sugar and vinegar. Shrub is going to be huge this summer. Make a batch, pop it in the fridge and you’ll be able to whip up a delicious cocktail in no time.

We hear you have a mantra – drink less, drink better?
This is so important for people, now more than ever. Whether it’s food or drink, we all want to know where it’s come from, who made it and what care has gone in to it along the way. We’re surrounded by so many great producers now, we just need to take the time to ask, where did this come from? You very quickly realise that a little bit of something great, is so much better than lots of something a bit average.

Is tea a daily thing for you?
Definitely. I grew up in South Africa, drinking Rooibos tea from when I was one, and I still drink it now. Caffeine-free, red bush is my tea of choice in the morning and I’ll drink black tea throughout the day. For special occasions, I love the ceremony of matcha.

Who would you invite for tea?
If I could have a tea party with anyone in the world, it would have to be Jeffrey Morganthaler. A self-proclaimed lazy bartender, he’s a renegade mixologist in Portland, Oregan and a legend in the beverage industry.

What would you have on the menu with Runaway Tea Cocktails?
Anything and everything with bright, fresh flavours. Green salads with radishes, or a delicious salad of watermelon, mint and feta. It’s a partnership that just screams summer.

Ethan Hertz can be contacted at ethanhertz@gmail.com

Find our Runaway Tea Cocktail and Mocktail recipes here and buy our Runaway Tea here.