I can still remember the very first hot toddy cocktail I ever had. I was in Pittsburgh and the snow had just started to fall. We were in a cozy neighborhood bar with a crackling fire and the bartender promised the toddy would warm me right up… and he was right! Ever since, no matter where I was, once October rolled around I knew it was toddy season. This hot toddy recipe combines two other fall essentials: chai spices and black tea. I suggest whipping up a batch of these to celebrate the changing leaves asap!
There’s just something so soothing about sipping warmed whiskey mellowed out with the sweetness of our ginger-infused simple syrup and spiked with chai spices.
Aromatic Chai Hot Toddy (Prep time: 15 minutes to make tea and about 5 minutes to prepare cocktail)
- 1 tablespoon black tea leaves
- 2 tablespoons chai spice mix: cardamom pods, star anise, dried orange peel, dried ginger chunks, crushed cinnamon bark, whole cloves, black peppercorns (available at any tea shop, spice market or natural grocery store)
- 1.5 ounce whiskey
- 1 teaspoon ginger simple syrup (you can substitute with honey)
- lemon wedges or thinly sliced ginger rounds to garnish (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated finely
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon juice
To make the ginger simple syrup, whisk together sugar and water in a small pot on medium heat. Grate ginger into pot and whisk well. If liquid start to bubble or boil reduce heat and keep stirring. Mixture should look glossy and slightly thickened in heat. After about 5 minutes of stirring, strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve, discard ginger pieces and put simple syrup into air-tight storage container. Can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 weeks.
Boil water and fill a tea strainer or cotton tea bag with black tea and chai mix. You can allow chai tea mix herbs to float in cup when serving, just beware the aromatics can be strong! We allowed for 5 min to brew black tea but allowed chai tea herbs to steep longer about 10-12 minutes.
Once tea is brewed, add ginger simple syrup and whiskey. Mix with a spoon, sink into a comfy chair, and enjoy the spicy warm flavors of fall!
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