The rich, spicy warmth of chai is a perfect drink for a cold winter’s day — and it’s made even more warming with the addition of a bourbon like Maker’s Mark, whose notes of clove, vanilla, and caramel marry perfectly with the ingredients in the chai. This recipe is based on a chai developed by Saveur.com contributor Judy Haubert, who makes hers with almond milk; feel free to substitute whole milk instead.
- 8 bags black tea, paper and string removed
- 8 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 8 whole allspice berries, crushed
- 8 whole black peppercorns, crushed
- 8 whole cloves
- 3 star anise
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1⁄2 whole nutmeg, chopped
- 1 (2″) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, seeds and pod reserved
- 6 cups hot water
- 6 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1⁄3 cup honey or agave
- 1 cup spice-forward bourbon, like Maker’s Mark
- Make the chai: In a 4-quart saucepan, combine tea, spices, ginger, and vanilla bean seeds and pod with 6 cups hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and add almond milk and honey or agave, whisking to combine. Return to a simmer, remove from heat, and allow to steep 10-15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer, pressing down on solids to extract flavors.
- Transfer the chai to a heat-proof serving vessel (like an earthenware pitcher) and stir in bourbon. Alternately, ladle chai into 8 individual mugs and portion 1 oz. bourbon into each.