There is no way of getting around it. The Holidays involve a lot of eating and a lot of drinking. Most parties or holiday gatherings will certainly have alcohol and non alcoholic beverages but it’s nice to have something special for guests that is not the expected norm. Chai is a nice alternative to have waiting on the stove permeating the house with wonderful smells. This recipe is self-proclaimed as “Decadent Chai latte” as it has heavy cream in the original recipe. I love home-made chai. The first time I had “real chai” not from a mix was 12 years ago when I first moved to San Francisco. I was at a holiday party and the host had a large pot of warm chai on the stove. I was in heaven at the first sip. You could taste the difference with the fresh spices and it was so sublime compared to the mix version of chai you normally get at coffee houses. The real star of a good chai is of course the fresh spices and the tea so if you want to replace the heavy cream with a lighter milk it will still be tasty. I’ve posted the original “decadent” recipe here which is from the November issue of Southern Living. Swap out the heavy cream and replace with regular milk or 1- 2 % milk if you don’t want the chai to be so rich. Your choice.
Decadent Chai Latte
(recipe from 2011 November issue Southern Living)
4 Cups milk
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
6 cardamom pods
1 star anise (suzie tip: buy this at an asian grocery store- much cheaper!)
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
4 regular-size black tea bags (I used 6 bags for a bit stronger chai)
Dark Chocolate Chai Latte Version (see below)*
1. Bring the first 8 ingredients and 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add tea bags; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a heatproof pitcher, discarding solids. Serve warm with a cinnamon stick.
Dark Chocolate Chai Latte Version: Stir in 4 oz. chopped dark chocolate and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon in with first 8 ingredients, stirring until chocolate is melted. Bring to boil and tea bags and proceed with the recipe as directed.