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Whiskey Cocktail Hour: Chai A Little Tenderness (thewhiskeywash.com)

Whiskey Cocktail Hour: Chai A Little Tenderness

I love chai spices. They are warm and rich and exactly what I’m looking for in the cooler months. Chai is the Hindi word for tea, which derived from the Chinese word for tea, “cha”. Chai is an Indian tea drink traditionally made with tea, a mix of spices, and warm milk. Each chai tea will have a different blend of spices, but it’s most common to see ginger, green cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and black peppercorn. Different spice mixes vary by regions and climate.

I wanted to make a fall cocktail with chai and it seemed fitting to use a whiskey that could stand up to all the spices in the chai. Rye, with its inherent spice notes, made a good choice. I decided to use the Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Small Batch Rye because of its nice vanilla and caramel notes.

To double down on the caramel, I wanted to introduce an amaro with a bit of a softness to it to help balance out all the spice notes. Meletti, with its use of saffron, a commonly added spice in the Kashmiri version of Chai, made the perfect addition. I also added a bit of funky rum from Oaxaca to lighten up the flavor profile.

This cocktail is quite simple, but so flavorful and very warming on the palate. It’s a great one to have on hand for those cool, crisp fall evenings when you want to warm up a bit, without an actual hot cocktail. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Chai A Little Tenderness

Chai A Little Tenderness (image copyright The Whiskey Wash/Emily Ross Johnson)

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. Serve over a large rock in a lowball glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Boil water and add tea bags to steep for 3 minutes. Pull teabags and add sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

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