I love chai. I love making homemade chai. And I really love bourbon. So when I saw this recipe on Saveur's website last week, I knew it would be on the weekend agenda.
If you've never mixed your own chai tea blend at home, you're in for a treat. I've talked about it on my own blog last year, and the cool thing that will happen once you start mixing your own teas is that you'll become quite a pro. As you do with most things, you'll develop tastes and preferences pretty quickly: maybe you like a touch more cardamom and less ginger. Or maybe you take a firm stand in the cinnamon camp. Regardless, starting with a recipe is a nice way to understand the spice profile of chai tea. And then from there, you can take off and add a little almond milk, honey, vanilla bean and heck, why not throw in a little bourbon for good measure?
That's what the Saveur magazine folks did with their Bourbon Chai. Thanks to all of the spices and the bourbon, it's a wonderful warming drink on a winter evening. While they recommend Maker's Mark, I like Bulleit for mixed drinks because I find it a little on the sweeter side -- perfect to add to a chai. You can certainly use regular milk or soy milk, but the almond milk is a really nice touch here; it adds a nutty richness that compliments the spices, and the caramel tones of the bourbon. I would suggest not adding the honey to the overall mixture, but to dole it out into individual cups so everyone can dictate their own sweetness.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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