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. - gingerroot —gingerroot
Test Kitchen Notes
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
Watch This Recipe
Dirty Chai Toddy
For the Chai:
half and half
cinnamon stick, broken in half
black cardamom pods, crushed with a mortar and pestle
pink peppercorns, crushed with a mortar and pestle (up to 6)
inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and flattened with the flat side of a large knife
sachets of organic whole leaf black tea, preferably Assam
For the Dirty Toddy:
espresso (I used Stumptown Roasters Hairbender), for the dirty toddy
Knob Creek, or other good quality bourbon, for the dirty toddy
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.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.