Beverages

Nothing beats a glass of ice water on a hot day - or a cold beer after working in the sun. I enjoy a good cup of tea and just love my morning coffee.So what's on this page? Well you may find all sorts of drinks here, including some alcolholic. Cheers.

Chai tea mix

This is a lovely mix for Chai or Masala spiced tea. The commercial alternative is Hari Hai Original Chai Blend which is a little hard to find in supermarkets, but worth the search. In my experience, most of the chai tea bags are not worth buying and the powder mixes are a bit bleah so loose leaf is the way to go.

My recipe is very similar to the Hari Hai blend and doesn't take long to put together once you have the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger stem (see note)
  • 1/2 cup loose black tea

Method:

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, crack open the cardamom pods.
  2. Add all the spices (not the tea) into a shallow glass dish and microwave on high for 1 minute.
  3. Stir then microwave again until the spices become fragrant.
  4. Pour the spices into a mortar and pestle and pound almost to a powder.
  5. Add the spices to a jar with the tea leaves and give the mix a good shake to distribute the spices.

Making a cup of chai:

  1. Shake the jar well to redistribute any finer spices that have settled to the bottom of the mix.
  2. Use one tablespoon of the mix per cup and steep in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat 1/2 cup milk, pour in the tea and sweeten to taste - I use 2 teaspoons.

Note about ginger:

You can buy dried ginger at Asian markets but if it's not available, you can dry your own. Finely chop fresh genger stem (no need to peel) and spread it out on a microwave proof dish. Dry the ginger using the defrost setting on your microwave until it's a rubbery texture.

An alternative is to use about 3 tab of very finely chopped glace or crystalised ginger.

Tips:

If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you could use a blender or a small food processor - my stick blender has one. Last resort is to put the spices in a bag and pound them with a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Chai Tea Syrup

I love chai tea and it's a good alternative to coffee in the evenings. Traditionally the tea is made by boiling milk and spices together with sugar or jaggery. A bit messy and time consuming. You can certainly buy chai tea syrups and powder but these are expensive. Nerada and other tea brands have chai tea bags but I find these a bit insipid. I prefer the syrup for convenience and taste.


If you don't have some of the spices or they are not to your taste, then you can vary the recipe. Add more of something that you like as this is not a strongly spiced chai syrup. Think of it as a base for your own tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre water
  • 5 cm piece fresh ginger root, sliced or chopped
  • 5 cm cinnamon quill, broken into small pieces
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods (or one teaspoon cardamom seeds)
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup black tea leaves
  • 1 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Method:

  1. Combine the water and all the spices in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer with the saucepan covered.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the tea leaves to the spice mixture and remove the saucepan from heat.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes to allow the tea to steep - no more or the syrup will become bitter.
  6. Strain the mixture into a jug through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and discard spices and tea leaves. You should have about 2 cups of liquid.
  7. Rinse the saucepan and return the liquid to it.
  8. Add the sugar and honey, stirring to dissolve.
  9. Heat to boiling and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  10. Continue simmering without a cover until the liquid reduces to a syrup (about 1 cup).
  11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then pour the syrup into a sterilised bottle.
  12. Store the syrup in the fridge - it will last a couple of months.

Tips:

To serve, heat a cup of milk or 1/2 milk and water in the microwave. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of the syrup and enjoy.