“Chai Love You” Hot Toddy

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During the colder months, there are few things I find as comforting as a hot drink.  With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, what better way is there to keep the cold at bay than with a soothing, soul-warming hot toddy?

I found these adorable mugs at Target for $2.99 each - talk about a deal to love!

I found these adorable mugs at Target for $2.99 each – talk about a deal to love!

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This winter cocktail is one of my favorites, and I love that there are so many variations on the classic that can be made with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand.  To me, this is the best kind of cocktail – one you can just throw together without pulling out a recipe or making a special trip to the store.  IMG_1174

I’ve seen countless variations on the hot toddy, but they usually feature a hot liquid base (water, tea, cider), your liquor of choice (usually whiskey, bourbon, or rum), a sweetener (sugar, honey, agave), and a combination of spices or garnishes (lemon, clove, cinnamon,  anise, or ginger).  I tend to make mine with tea, bourbon, and honey, but in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would whip up something a little more special.

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I thought chai tea would make the perfect base for a swoon-worthy cocktail.  Chai tea is sweet, spicy, and citrusy – all of the elements of a good hot toddy.  I used a combination of chai oolong, which has strong, spicy notes, and chai mate, which has sweeter, more fragrant notes to help balance out the boldness of the oolong.  You can really use any tea you like, so feel free to experiment until you find a combination you love.

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For this cocktail, I wanted to try something a bit softer and more romantic than the usual bourbon, so I went with Disaronno, an Italian amaretto liqueur.  The sweet, citrusy notes of the Disaronno paired perfectly with the spicy chai tea and added a more subtle warmth of alcohol than the stronger alternatives.

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20140209_115400To finish the cocktail, I added a spoonful of honey for a touch of sweetness.  The combination of warm spicy tea and soothing honey makes this the perfect cocktail to warm your heart whether you’re enjoying a romantic night in with the one you love or simply cuddling up on the couch with a good book or watching your favorite RomCom.  Enjoy! xoxo Meg

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“Chai Love You” Hot Toddy

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons loose chai tea (alternatively, you can use two chai teabags or whatever style tea you have on hand.  You may need to adjust the amount of tea and brew time depending on the variety of tea you use and the desired strength.)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 ounces (one small shot glass full) of Disaronno liqueur (would also be great with bourbon or honey whiskey)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (adjust for desired sweetness)

Heat water to just below the boiling point.  When the water is ready, steep the tea for 3 minutes (or less if you prefer a lighter tea).  I used loose tea, so I steeped it right in the measuring cup and used a small strainer to filter out the leaves when I poured the tea into my mug.  You can also brew the tea right in your mug using a tea diffuser or simply use tea bags – whatever method you prefer.  Once the tea is brewed, simply add the liqueur and desired amount of honey and stir until the honey is dissolved.

Serves 2 if using small teacups or 1 large mug.  Enjoy responsibly!

 

 

Quick & Easy Ottoman Update

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When we moved into our new house, the walls in our main living space {living room, dining room and kitchen} were a dull shade of salmon pink, which made the whole downstairs feel dark and dated.  I just finished painting the living room a crisp shade of gray {Sherwin-Williams Tinsmith}, and the space already feels so much brighter and refreshed.  To compliment the spiffy new fireplace wall, I decided to create a little seating area where we could sit by the fire, read, or enjoy a cup of coffee.  After finding an armchair to fit the space, I started looking for a small ottoman that could double as a side table or extra seating when needed but wouldn’t obstruct the view of the fireplace.

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I found this little stool at Ross {if you don’t have one in your area, it is similar to a T.J.Maxx or Marshalls}.  Though the Roman-themed fabric did not match the aesthetic I had in mind, I loved the metal base, and at under $30, the price was right.  I checked to make sure the seat was removable, and since it was, I knew it would be a cinch to reupholster.  For the new fabric, I turned to a slightly unconventional source – a pillow case!  While at Ross, I stumbled upon a discount sheet set, which featured a small geometric print in the perfect shade of blue to compliment my color scheme.  I was sold!

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Supplies used:

  • Stool with removable seat
  • Screwdriver
  • Fabric {I used a pillow case, but if you are buying fabric by the yard, how much you will need will depend on the size of your stool.  For most purposes, a half yard to a yard will be more than enough fabric.}
  • Sharpie or something to draw an outline on your fabric
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun

steps 1-4

1) To begin, I removed the seat from the stool.  The seat was attached with 4 screws, so I just had to unscrew them using a Phillips-head screwdriver.  2 & 3) I then spread out my fabric, wrong side up, under the seat.  4) I drew a circle roughly three inches around the seat and then cut the excess fabric.

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5) With the seat facing right side down, I pulled the fabric taught and stapled it to the bottom of the seat.  6) I then pulled the fabric taught on the opposite side of the circle from where I had just stapled and, after checking the front of the seat for any wrinkles, I stapled the fabric in place to the back of the seat. 7) I continued in this manner – stapling one side, pulling it taught, checking for wrinkles, and then stapling the opposite side –  until I had worked my way around the entire circle.  8) Once the fabric was securely stapled to the bottom of the seat, I flipped it over once again to smooth any wrinkles. {You see a theme here, don’t you?}

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Next, I trimmed away the excess fabric from the bottom of the seat and reattached the seat to the stool base.  Easy peasy!

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Et voila – that’s all there is to it!  The whole project took less than 30 minutes {and it only took that long, because I was stopping to photograph each step}.  I am really pleased with the finished product, and it goes perfectly with my new chair and freshly painted gray walls.  I have already used it as a footstool and a handy spot to rest my coffee, and I can’t believe the whole project cost less than $40!  I have seen similar metal stools selling for four times that price, so I consider this a major win in the budget-friendly decorating department.

What do you think?  Have you ever tried this technique to give new life to old stools, dining chairs, etc.?  How did it turn out?  I’d love to hear from you!

Meg