Homemade chai lattes, and saturday morning links (!!)

I can't forget you. 

I can't quit your cozy layer of warm milk, exotic spices, and nostalgic whimsy. It's not worth it. 

Though a few months ago I pained through the grueling torture of coffee withdrawal, I have not gone completely caffeine-sober. I can't. No matter what science does to food and drink, there will always be caffeine in black tea. And there will always be black tea in chai tea lattes. 

My love affair with chai tea lattes began in girl scouts, after caroling, and at a Starbucks. I went to casually order my go-to hot peppermint hot chocolate, already feeling like a badass for being able to handle the "spicy" flavor of mint, when one of the older girls ordered a chai latte. I was 12, and figured if I started drinking something with the word "latte" in it, my maturity factor would skyrocket. So I ordered one too.  

But chai lattes do more than bring on the air of false maturity. They're warm, comforting like the blankets are your grandparents house, and layered with the smooth bite of nutmeg and cardamom. And they pair quite nicely with the strum of a mandolin and a flowy bathrobe. 

In college I drank them on snowy mornings with a shot of espresso. Those were called "dirty chais." I really miss those guys. 

So I sat, chai latteless in my apartment, and reviewed my options: wait in the longer-than-life lines of the Los Angeles Starbucks (NO) or deal with the super $$$$$$$$ chai in independent coffee shops (also NO). Going without chai was not an choice, and I've got all them crazy Los Angeles bills to pay, so I took matters into my own hands and made my own. 

I've got a big ol' crush on it. 

homemade chai lattes

5 thin, round slices of fresh ginger 

2 cinnamon sticks

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

3 teaspoons ground cloves

2 teaspoons nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cardamom 

6 cups cold water

6 bags of black tea (preferably Darjeeling)

Milk and sweetener to taste

Add the first six ingredients to a medium saucepan. Use a large spoon to gently break and bruise the whole spices.  Pour in the 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the two teabags. Seep for five minutes and remove bags.

Combine 1/2 cup of chai, 1/2 cup of desired warm milk and sweetener (agave, stevia, sugar) to taste ; and store the rest in the fridge for future chai lattes (the recipe makes about six cups of pure chai.) The black tea will keep up to two weeks.  

Variations

Dirty Chai - Combine hot chai, milk, and desired sweetener. Add one shot of espresso. This is delicious and will have you buzzin' for hours. 

Coconut Almond Chai - My personal favorite. Use coconut almond milk in place of regular dairy milk. It tastes like Almond-Joy-Chai-Craziness. 

Chai White Russian - Add your sweetener and milk to the chai mix, 1/2 shot of vanilla vodka and 1/2 shot of kahlua. WOAH. 

Iced Chai - This works best with the chai you've refrigerated. Pour 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup chai mix, and sweetener into a mason jar. Seal tightly and shake. Pour over ice. (You can add vodka to this too!)


Plus links! So much for perusal these days. 

//  One of my favorite bloggers Beth takes a trip to Harrisonburg's very own Blue Hole, and takes lovely photographs. 

This info about the best way to reheat cold pizza is of the upmost importance. //

// LA folk! My new favorite place for a Manhattan is just around the corner at Bigfoot West

Seeing First Aid Kit this Wednesday, and am clapping my hands in glee. // 

// Now contributing to the beautiful Wolftree magazine, next issue to release in January (!!) 

This spices and seasons pairing guide is helpful and lovely. // 

// Molly's words continue to rock me. 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends. I hope it's full of adventures, even if that means nothing but a good book and soft bedsheets. 

- stay cozy