Enjoy a Hot Mug

January is a good month for drinking tea. We’ve had many days trying to keep cozy inside when temperatures are below zero. Now that everything is covered in feet of snow we are venturing out more among the piles and flakes. Pulling Amos around the snowy streets in the sled is a good way to warm up but I also enjoy a hot mug to sip and wrap my hands around.

Chai Concentrate (Updated)
I posted this recipe a couple of summers ago. I have reworked it to taste more of the flavors I enjoy. I love a good does of cardamom and ginger but you can adjust the spices to your taste. I highly recommend ordering bulk spices (Penzeys or Mountain Rose Herbs are good sources) so you can try different combinations and it is more affordable to make your own Chai blend that way. I used dried ginger root but fresh ginger would also work, you may need to add more.

2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
16 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried ginger root (not powdered)

1-3 teaspoons loose leaf tea (black or green)
2-4 teaspoons sweetener of your choice

Measure the spices into a pot and add 4 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add the tea and let it steep for 5 minutes (or longer if you want a strong tea flavor). Stir in the sweetener and add more if needed. Store the concentrate in an air tight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To serve: Combine 3/4 cup of the concentrate with 1/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk of your choice. Serve hot or over ice. Makes about 6 cups.