Dirty Chai Toddy

December 21, 2010

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
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min


  • 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 pink peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle (up to 6)
  • 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), for the dirty toddy
  • 2 ounces Knob Creek, or other good quality bourbon, for the dirty toddy
In This Recipe


  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.

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