We're preparing for a hot and humid week here in the city, so I thought a little iced chai might hit the spot. I often find pre-made chai bases to be a bit too sweet, and I'm always frustrated by the lack of a good alternative to yet another plastic take-away cup, so I'm resolving (and I hope you might, as well!) to make more chai base at home to blend up and tote around in my to-go cup of choice, the trusty mason jar. If you already have a favorite chai blend at home, simply use that. If you're looking for a recipe, try one of mine here, or you can always purchase our Modern Chai No. 1 or No. 2 in the shop. If the amount of spice and the time the mixture simmers seems a bit intense, don't fret, you'll want your concentrate, well...concentrated! You can always adjust the spiciness by adding more or less milk when you finally mix up your drink. Even if my chai blend already has dried ginger in it, I like to at least add a bit of fresh ginger to the mix because I love the way it brightens the flavor and adds its own incomparable kick.
- 1 qt (4 cups) water
- 4-6 heaping tbsp. chai tea blend of your choice
- 1 inch knob fresh ginger, sliced thin
- a vanilla bean (should you so desire...)
- 1/2 cup raw honey (careful! do not add this to your base until the mixture has cooled...)
- a splash of rosewater
Add the fresh ginger (and vanilla bean, if using) to the water and bring to a gentle simmer, let simmer about 5 minutes. Add the chai tea blend, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep according to your preference, I like to let mine go about 20 minutes. Strain, and allow to cool. Once nearly cool, add the raw honey. Taste as you go along to find the perfect level of sweetness. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to marry, and then mix as you will. I recommend about 1 cup of your favorite milk (I love soy or coconut) to 1/2 cup of the concentrate, blended over ice. A splash of rose water elevates this concoction to something truly special, if you happen to have it around...You can, of course, use this to make a cup of hot chai, but you may want to hold that thought for a few months from now!
This recipe makes about 1 quart of concentrate, and is good for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.