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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
To 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
“Chai Love You” Hot Toddy
- 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!