By the time you get home from a day at the office or running errands around town, the sun’s already gone down, the evening’s breeze has begun picking up momentum, and there’s a wintry gloom in the air. You can’t wait to get inside, slip into your cozy comfies, and settle into the night to relax and melt a bit. A warm meal, accompanied by a warm drink, can be all it takes to unwind in proper winter fashion.
When the call for comfort has hit you hard, reach for a hot drink, filled with spices, aromas, and sweetness to take you to a happier place. For this, the spiced milk drinks enter our culinary repertoire, if only for a few chilly months of the year.
Don’t be turned off by the usage of whole spices in these recipes. They are easily found in bulk at your local co-op, health food store, or spice shop. If you don’t have access to a bulk section in your neck of the woods, you can find these spices in the baking aisle of your regular chain grocery—but the prices will be a bit steeper for the bottles and packaging. Either way, invest in a few solid spices, and they will last you for months—and their value is immeasurable to the flavor and depth they bring for recipes such as these.
A spiced latte, a steaming chai—these are the drinks of the season, and you can enjoy them in the confines of your own kitchen. So turn on your go-to chill out tunes, crank up the heat, and cozy up with a homemade spiced milk drink.
Hot Spiced Chai
Taking a tip from classic Indian cuisine, the chai drink has become a household staple for many western countries in the cold wintry months. And rightfully so—warming spices meet invigorating black tea and comforting hot milk to put you in the ultimate “zone” during those cold holiday months.
8 cardamom pods, cracked
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 piece star anise
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced
2 cups whole milk (or non-dairy alternative)
2 cups water
3 black tea bags
3 tablespoons honey
1) Gently grind spices together in a mortar/pestle, coffee grinder, or with a culinary mallet.
2) Combine spices with milk in a small pot. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat; immediately lower to a low simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring to prevent scalding.
3) Meanwhile, bring water to a boil over high heat in a separate small pot. Add tea bags, cover, and remove from heat. Steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags.
4) Strain milk into steeped tea. Stir in honey and serve warm.