I found a version of this cocktail on Food52 that featured a masala spice infused vodka, and sounded absolutely amazing. The only problem was that I’m not generally patient enough to wait for the month of infusing time the recipe called for.
Looking in my spice cabinet I realised that another way to get a lot of the same spiciness and complexity of flavour was to use chai tea instead and speed up the infusion process. I’ve infused vodka using tea before, so knew it was possible, and better yet only takes a few hours to transfer the flavours. I’m definitely proud of this “aha moment”.
The combination of flavours from the chai tea combined with the spicy ginger from the ginger beer and a squeeze of lime make a wonderfully fragrant, slightly warming, and easy sipping cocktail.
To make the chai-infused vodka:
two sachets chai tea
1/2 bottle of vodka
2 clean glass containers with lids
3. fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth
1. open tea sachets into the glass container and over with vodka
2. shake well and let sit for at least two hours, tipping once or twice each hour
3. once the tea has infused to your desired strength, strain through a fine mesh sieve into another clean glass container. Chill until ready to use.
The nice thing about infusing vodka this way is that it’s really easy to control how much flavour you put in. You can also amend how much vodka you use and just add less tea, or strain it sooner. I haven’t experimented yet with other ways to use it, but my guess would be that there are several.
For the cocktail:
• 2 oz chai-infused vodka
• 1/2 lime, cut into two wedges
• spicy ginger beer
- squeeze limes into a glass with ice and toss into the bottom
- fill glass with ginger beer roughly half of the way
- top with vodka, garnish with a cinnamon stick, and enjoy
The warming ginger and chai spices turn what I think is a warmer-weather drink into something a little bit nicer for when the air is still a bit cool. Using a spicy ginger beer keeps it from being too sweet, but the beauty of this cocktail is that you can really adjust it to your taste.