Dirty Chai Toddy

By • December 21, 2010 • 73 Comments

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Author Notes: My youngest brother is home from college for the holidays. He mentioned to me that during finals week, all he drank was dirty chai – chai with a shot of espresso. I love chai and I love espresso, so I was pretty sure I would like a dirty chai. Add a shot of bourbon, and you have a hot toddy that will erase the troubles of the day, even if it does not put you to sleep. My chai recipe is inspired by one I found at http://www.veetea.com/site/articles/Masala-Chai-Recipes/, with ingredients I had on hand. Note: While green cardamom pods are typically used, I only had black cardamom pods which have a smokier, more pungent quality. I was curious how it would affect the flavor, and I enjoyed the overall balance with the espresso and bourbon. - gingerrootgingerroot

Food52 Review: This starts out as a fragrant and mildly indulgent chai -- it's made with half-n-half -- and then right before serving you sling in some espresso and bourbon, and suddenly it's a drink with purpose and conviction.The Editors

Serves 2

  • For the Chai:
  • 8 ounces half and half
  • 4 ounces water
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 black cardamom pods, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 5-6 pink peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and flattened with the flat side of a large knife
  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
  • 2 sachets of organic whole leaf black tea, preferably Assam
  • ***********************************
  • For the Dirty Toddy:
  • 2 ounces espresso (I used Stumptown Roasters Hairbender)
  • 2 ounces Knob Creek, or other good quality bourbon
  1. Combine half and half, water, spices and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add black tea sachets and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea sachets, strain out spices and split chai between two pre-warmed teacups. Add one ounce of espresso and one ounce of bourbon to each teacup. Sit back and enjoy.
Jump to Comments (73)

Comments (73) Questions (2)

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3 months ago Lauri

Just came across this and tried it. While I have to say it was good, it was more work than this k-cuper wants to spend. May I offer my lazy version? Brew an 8oz kcup of Cafe Escape's Chai Latte into the mug you're going to drink from, brew 4oz any brand of espresso kcup into a separate cup. Pour only 2oz of the espresso into the main mug, followed by the amount of half and half you prefer (I use about 2oz) and the amount bourbon you want. As an added treat, top with whipped cream.

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about 1 month ago gingerroot

That's a great shortcut!

Julistache

11 months ago juliunruly

I found this much too sweet with the 2 tbsp of sugar, and also didn't like the taste of the bourbon with it. However, I love this recipe for plain chai without the coffee or booze (and with half the sugar). Super simple and delicious. Thank you!

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11 months ago gingerroot

Thanks for letting me know! Glad you enjoy the chai recipe.

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about 1 year ago Amber

Fantastic! Not too sweet and the perfect blend of spice and creaminess with the added bonus of a coffee layer. Do you know if this can be increased without compromising the integrity of the recipe?

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about 1 year ago gingerroot

Hi Amber! Check out JenLeePA's question thread. Thanks for your comment, I'm thrilled you enjoyed it.

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about 1 year ago MomofChef

So while wandering though the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, my husband and our young friend would identify mysterious plants and call them "coftea" thinking that coffee and tea together would be pretty funny. Now I will have to make this for them and see how chai and coffee go together. Little did they knowabout dirty chai. I have been making my own chai spices based on my Tibetan nieces recipe for more than a decade. This will be an interesting modification on our standard winter time drink.

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about 1 year ago gingerroot

Hi MomofChef! Somehow your comment snuck right by me. I hope you enjoy this and would love to hear your thoughts about it.

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over 1 year ago Ruthlessmess

My husband and I are big chai latte fans and loved this. Instead of assam black tea we used a 'spicy chai masala' blend we had bought in a fancy tea shop. Wonderfully fragrant and fulfilling recipe, thankyou. And all the comments helped, otherwise I probably wouldn't have gotten over my negative ideas about mixing tea& coffee

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thanks so much for letting me know! I'm thrilled you and your husband enjoyed this.

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over 1 year ago katybeth

how do you get the half and half not to curdle? I made this and could barely strain all the spices out because it got so thick. hmmmmm.......

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Hi katybeth, Sorry to hear that happened. Although it has never happened when I've made it (I keep the heat at the barest simmer and whisk for a minute or two) someone on the question thread attached to this recipe thought it might be the fresh ginger. She suggested getting everything else simmering first, before adding the ginger. I'd love to know if that solves the curdling issue for you.

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over 1 year ago Katya

Where did you get the mug? I love it and can't stop thinking about it.

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over 1 year ago fayeballs

me too!!!!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

I'd love to know too. It's gorgeous.

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about 1 year ago juleeclip

Looks similar to the faceted boulder mugs from leif shop, and if memory serves me I believe they used to make a low, cappuccino variation... http://www.leifshop.com...

Julistache

12 months ago juliunruly

Katya there's a somewhat similar mug for sale here on Food52 http://food52.com/provisions...

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over 1 year ago beejay45

Just came across this, and it sounds amazing. I'm going to try subbing my herbal coffee for the espresso. Sad, I know, but I'm allergic to coffee. Our days are warming up, but the nights up here in the Valley are still chilly enough to justify this lovely tipple.

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you beejay45! Apologies for the belated response, I just found your comment. This will definitely keep you warm on a chilly night.

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almost 2 years ago RandyPickles

This reminds me of a spicy, earthy twist on Singaporean coffee!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

Thank you!

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I made this tonight, tweaked for one serving. I have to admit I resisted because I never had coffee and tea together. Well, I'm a convert, it was absolutely delicious. I didn't have bourbon so I used cognac that was the only change I made. Between this and boulangere's hot chocolate truffle peppermint drink I am set for the winter. Really loved it!!

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

Aw, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed this, sdebrango. I was skeptical about the coffee-tea combo at first as well, but after a taste I was hooked. I bet cognac would be good, I'll have to try that!

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almost 3 years ago Jenniferino

so good! i used only 1 tbsp turbinado sugar and it was perfect :)

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know.

Me

almost 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Oh wow! I totally missed this! Huge congratulations on your wildcard win - well deserved!!!! I was looking at hot toddy recipes and am totally on this one. Happy Holidays gingerroot!!!

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, ChezSuzanne! I hope you enjoy this if you give it a whirl. Happy Holidays to you and yours as well!!

Dethbird

about 3 years ago dethbird

I drank just the bourbon part. Does that count? :) just kidding
This sounds fantastic

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, dethbird! Personally, I love the bourbon part.

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm sorry it took me so long to write you--congratulations on the wildcard win! I had never heard of dirty chai before, but I'm dying to try this!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Hi drbabs, No apologies - thank you so much! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you try it!

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about 3 years ago EmilyC

Congrats, gingerroot, on your wildcard win! This looks like the perfect cold weather pick-me-up!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, EmilyC!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This is really good! Not to sweet, not too strong, just perfect! Cheers!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

I'm thrilled that you tried this, and it means a lot to me that you enjoyed it!

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about 3 years ago Lisa Hyde-Mills

Hi, What is half & half ? I'm guessing milk of some kind? I haven't seen it in Australia.
Cheers
LIsa

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Half milk & half cream.

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about 3 years ago susan g

I made this at 3 AM last night, and drank just the chai. In the morning I added the expresso. So good either way. Eventually, the bourbon. Wonderful how the Wildcard makes treasures like this pop up.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, susan g! So glad you enjoyed the Dirty Chai and hope you like the toddy version too.

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about 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Congrats ginger root. It looks wonderful and is beautifully captured

Nicole Franzen/Photo composer/A&M - that photo is worthy of high praise. Simply, stunning. I love the hint of grey wool in the background, the hands wrapped around the cup to receive warmth and the gorgeousness of the cup itself.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, KB. I could not agree more about the photo - it is gorgeous!

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

YAY, gingerroot!!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, wssmom!

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about 3 years ago lapadia

Cheers and Congratulations, gingerroot! :)

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, lapadia! It was a terrific surprise.

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about 3 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats, gingerroot. It sure is becoming hot toddy weather up here in New England!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, Sagegreen! I hope you enjoy this if you give it a try.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, everyone!! What a fabulous surprise at the end of a long week. It's not quite toddy weather here yet, but I'll be having a bourbon tonight (which I discovered I enjoy thanks to this contest). Cheers!

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about 3 years ago monkeymom

Yay gingerroot! Congrats!

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about 3 years ago Lizthechef

Gosh, I really had to work to re-find this on the blog...Are you listening, dear food52?? Beautiful!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, Liz! It has taken me a bit to be able to reply to you, but I appreciate it.

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations on your wildcard win! I love this--can't believe I missed it when you first posted it.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, drbabs! I hope you enjoy this if you try it. Apologies for such a belated response.

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about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

yay gingerroot!! congrats on your yummy wildcard win!! I'd have one right now, but I'm drinking a beer. ;)

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much, mrslarkin! Apologies for my belated response - I'm only getting some notifications and then had a really busy week. You crack me up!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrats Gingerroot on the wild card win, this sounds so good think I am going to have one right now!!

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about 3 years ago Bevi

Congrats on your win, gingerroot!

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about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wahoo! Congrats on the wildcard GR! You're a powerhouse!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats on your wildcard win! I can't think of a more perfect fall/winter warmer!

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almost 4 years ago Ms Nickel

gingerroot: I have found my new mid-morning pick me up--minus the whiskey! Wow that's tasty. Can't wait to try it later with some "straightener" as my Dad used to call it.

Thanks

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Cheers, Ms Nickel! Glad you enjoyed the chai...wait till you add the whiskey!! Happy New Year!

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almost 4 years ago Ms Nickel

Can I suggest Maker 46 with this--it sounds wonderful, and I may have to make one right now. The Makers 46 is a new whiskey, and I just bought a bottle to try, and it has a distinct soft vanilla finish that would be delicious with this

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Yum! Thanks for the recommendation. I will keep my eye out for that bottle.

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almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats on your EP! I definitely want to make this one. It's supposed to be especially wet and nasty in Portland this winter, so I should have lots of opportunity.

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almost 4 years ago lapadia

Congrats on your EP, gingerroot!

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, lapadia! Cheers and Happy New Year!

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almost 4 years ago Nora

Can anyone tell me about the beautiful glass in the photo?

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almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

Love this, too!

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almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This looks really good. I love dirty chai! Nice taste in coffee, gingerroot.

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, hardlikearmour! You are lucky to live in such a coffee-rich city! I'm hoping to post a photo tonight.

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almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

yeah, but you live in Hawaii!

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almost 4 years ago VanessaS

Looks delicious!

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, VanessaS.