Well, we managed to make it through the Christmas season – now for the onward trudge to New Year’s. We’ve been super busy around here making merry for the past couple of weeks, and busy with school and Cub Scouts prior to that. It’s nice to have this time to kick back with family and relax, with no obligations other than maybe an evening get-together with a few friends down the street…
Drinks are in order, of course. And with as cold as it’s been the past couple of days, one that warms your bones and your belly is the only way to go. I’ve been missing the chai lattes from Sea Star Cafe now that they’re closed for the season (is it March yet?) – so I decided to do a boozy riff on that.
I used the fruit cream liquor Amarula, made by fermenting the marula fruit found in Africa. They’re doing a campaign through the end of the year to donate $1 for every bottle sold to WildlifeDirect to help save African Elephants. Delicious drinks and a good cause – win/win.
So, about that latte. I brewed a really strong chai concentrate, that can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Then, when I was ready to put it together I just warmed the concentrate. Topped off with some steamed milk and froth, and a dash of cinnamon.
The flavors of the chai – cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, black pepper, and ginger all played beautifully off of the fruity richness of the Amarula. It was such a treat, the flavors all together really reminded me of rice pudding. But like, the best rice pudding that you’ve ever had in your life….
It would be great as just a plain chai latte too, without the booze. Then again, where’s the fun in that?
Amarula Chai Spice Latte
4 cups water
6 chai tea bags
2 black tea bags (English or Irish Breakfast)
1/4 cup honey
2 cups milk
1/4 cup Amarula
whipped cream (optional)
cinnamon (for garnish)
Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan. When boiling, turn off heat and add the chai tea bags (reserving the black tea bags for later) and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, and turn heat to medium. Let tea simmer until reduced by about half. Remove from heat and add remaining tea bags, letting steep for 5 minutes more. Remove tea bags and stir in honey. Concentrate can be stored in jar in refrigertor for up to a week.
Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat – whisking constantly. The whisking action is what gets that luxuorious foam that you crave in a good latte – so put some elbow grease into it.
For the lattes, fill your mug about halfway with the chai concentrate. Add 2 Tbsp Amarula. And top off with hot steamed milk, adding a few spoonfuls of foam at the top. Or, if you’re going decadent – a dollop of whipped cream. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon before serving.