Honeyed Vanilla Chai
- Ingredients: 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup milk of choice cashew or coconut would be best
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 4 peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 scraped vanilla bean
- 1 inch chunk ginger peeled
- 1 bag good quality tea or loose leaf equivalent
- local honey to taste
Method: Add cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon stick vanilla bean and scrapings to pan. Allow to toast until fragrant. Add water, ginger, and milk. Simmer for 30 minutes, until fragrant. Add tea and honey to taste, steep for 5 additional minutes. Strain and serve.
Variations: If you're really feeling under the weather, add a shot of whiskey. That will help you sleep! You could also omit the vanilla and add a shot of butterscotch schnapps for a buttery tasting adult Chai tea.
You may also use 1/4 tsp. each of ground ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Add 1/8 of ground pepper. You may also substitute vanilla bean for 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract added after the tea is removed from heat.
Dirty Chai: Add a shot of espresso to this. Enjoy the fireworks.
Everyone I know is sick right now.
If you plan on visiting the South, as much as we love you, come back later. The extreme temperature fluctuations have thrown us all for a loop. Coughing, sneezing, and generally an all over crummy feeling.
I fully believe in the restorative healing power of spices and honey. I also believe in the powers of a hot toddy, more on that later. The first time I had Chai tea in middle school I was in heaven, inhaling the spicy aroma of the overly sweetened brew. It became a ritual for my sister and I to go to the local coffee shop on Saturday mornings. She would drive us and I would feel so special that my high school aged sister would spend time with me.
A couple tips: I love to cook with fresh ginger and keep it on hand at all times. I peel it with the back of a spoon and keep it in the freezer. I set it out to defrost just a little if I need to cut off a chunk. It will grate or shave easily even when frozen solid.
Have a difficult time keeping your honey jar from being sticky? Can’t open the jar from sugar crystals gumming up the lid? Add a couple layers of plastic wrap between the lid and your honey jar. It will open easily every time.
Has your honey crystallized? Microwave for 5 or 10 seconds. Remove very carefully, as it will be very runny and hot! It will return to regular consistency when cooled to room temperature.
Don’t throw out those spices when strained! Simmer them in water to perfume your house with sweetness.
My version will soothe the tickle in your chest and coat your sore throat. Peppercorns add a little tingle, local honey and ginger have very special anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying even if you’re feeling well! This one’s for you, under the weather friends.