I’m back in California and the weather has been amazing (sunshine all day??! So odd!), yet our apartment remains freezing at night and mornings. I’ve been layering myself with long knit sweaters, fleece leggings, bathrobe (of course), wool socks and cats :).
But what keeps me really warm from the inside out (besides headstands and vacuuming) is warm beverages. I went straight from the airport to Trader Joe’s (it’s on the way home) to get their organic mint green tea with lemongrass (you can also buy similar here) and Yerba Mate, so there’s been lots of tea pot action these past 2 days. There comes a point in time though, when you’d like to step up your beverage game and that’s when these recipes for Chai Latte, Mulled Wine and Hot Cider come in handy.
2 cups water
2 tbsp loose leaf black tea (or 2-3 bags of black tea)
2 tbsp whole chai spice blend
Maple syrup, coconut sugar or other sweetener of choice (to taste)
1 cup almond milk (more to taste)
Coconut whipped cream for topping
Add water, tea and spices to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes to fully steep. Remove from heat and add almond milk and sweetener of choice and stir. Warm for 2-3 minutes off the heat, and then pour over 2 serving mugs using a fine mesh strainer. Taste and adjust seasonings and sweeteners as needed.
DIY Chai Spice Blend: 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger powder, 1/2 tsp each black pepper, ground cloves + cardamom. Mix. Taste. Adjust to your taste.
Hot Mulled Wine
1 cup pineapple, cubed
750 ml bottle of red wine, medium- to full-bodied
1/4 cup triple sec
zest from 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup agave, maple syrup or honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Juice orange, lemon, and pineapple. Add wine, triple sec, lemon zest, and agave. Refrigerate mixture up to five days. Before serving, simmer mixture with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg over low heat for about 30 minutes. Serve in a mug with a cinnamon stick.
Chai Spiced Cider
3 cups water
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1 cinnamon stick
25 cardamom pods
2 or more slices orange
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon shredded ginger
4 or 5 cups unfiltered apple juice
Dark rum to taste (optional)
Bring water to a low simmer in a medium saucepan. Add all spices (except peppercorns and ginger) and orange slices.
Place pepper and ginger in a tea ball and add to the mix for about five minutes and then remove. Add apple juice and leave on the stove for at least 45 minutes. After this time add rum if you wish and serve. This would be nice to make a lot of and leave on the stove for a party, as it makes the whole house smell cozy. Also, if you choose not to use any rum, the cider will be a little tart, so you might want to add some agave nectar or other sweetener. If you don’t like the flavor of vanilla or ginger, you could safely leave these out altogether, however the other spices are essential to the chai flavor.