With the advent of fall, I start thinking of amazing warm drinks. A fantastic blog, called Three Many Cooks, wrote a post in January this year called Spiced Chai Concentrate. It's one of the best tea recipes I've ever tasted, and you can make it at home! It's better than any chain-coffee-store chai that I've tried. It's also very adaptable! I don't particularly like the orange flavor in my tea, so the recipe I used below leaves that out. While I was in Chicago this summer, my friend, James, introduced me to another awesome version of chai, Lavender Chai. Inspired, I decided to take the Spiced Chai Concentrate recipe and add my own lavender twist. While chatting with one of my foodie friends, Paul, he suggested infusing the milk with lavender. Brilliant!
Spiced Chai Concentrate
3 Tablespoons of Strong Black Tea (I prefer Darjeeling or Ceylon, but if you don't have loose leaf tea, use 5 Twinings English Breakfast teabags)
4 Cups of Water
2 Cinnamon Sticks
5 Allspice Berries
2 Star Anise
1 Teaspoon of Fresh Ginger
A Pinch of Fresh Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon of Honey
1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
In a stock pot, pour in all of your ingredients except the honey, vanilla and sugar. Bring this to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat and cover for 15-20minutes. In a pitcher, pour in your honey, sugar and vanilla. With a mesh strainer, pour in your steeped tea into the pitcher. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. I like to store my tea in a resealable bottle. This will keep for at least a week, but I bet it won't last that long!
4 Pieces of 3" Long Fresh Lavender
3/4 Cup of Half and Half
In a saucepan, pour in your half and half. Bring it to just barely simmering. Remove from heat and stir in the lavender pieces. Let sit until cool, then strain and store.
Lavender Chai Tea
Pour in the Spiced Chai Tea Concentrate to the Lavender Cream in a 2 to 1 ratio. Warm in the microwave or the stovetop. Enjoy!
*I want to add a note to this recipe. I'm aware that lots of the spices above can be expensive, but I recommend going to the Dekalb Farmer's Market for your spice source if you're in the Atlanta area. The spices are very affordable there! Also, all of these spices are great to have on hand if you like Indian food! If you don't have the whole spices in your cabinet, don't panic. I have made this using the ground versions with great success, you just need to strain it through a bit of cloth*