Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homemade Chai Liqueur - How to Make a White Elephant

I have been making some homemade flavored vodkas lately and decided to do a little experiment with some chai I had lying around. The flavored vodka I made was way too strong, so with a little tweaking and some simple syrup, I turned it in to an amazing chai liqueur. I then whipped up an easy little drink that had my hubby and his friend coming back for more. Here's the recipe:

Homemade Chai Liqueur

1/2 of a 1.75 L bottle of cheap vodka (I use Trader Joe's)
5 T sweet chai spice (I got mine from World Spice)
4 vanilla beans (see my post here for cheap beans)
1 cup water
1 T ground cinnamon (optional)
2 cups brown or white sugar

The ratios of chai to vodka are rough since I was just experimenting. Add chai spice directly to the bottle of vodka. I didn't add any tea along with the chai (like you would when making chai tea) just the chai spice. Since chai contains peppercorn and cardamom, you will need to be very careful to not overextract the spices and end up with something bitter. I taste tested a teaspoon daily and found that at 4 days, mine was a little overdone.

Strain the vodka in to another container. Remove the spices and return the vodka to the original bottle.

Using kitchen shears, cut the ends off your vanilla beans, then cut in half (both length and width). This will open up your bean and expose all the flavorful beany goodness. Add the vanilla to your vodka. Cap it up and store under your sink for 2 - 3 weeks. Give it a shake every couple of days and test aprox once a week until it has the desired flavor. Keep in mind it will still be strong until you tame it with some sugar.

Once your vodka mix has just the right flavor, strain off the vanilla beans and set aside.You can end the process here and have Chai Vodka - really freakin tasty but strong vodka. I think it is better as a liqueur, but it is good both ways.

In a saucepan mix water, sugar and ground cinnamon. I have made it with both kinds of sugar and with and without cinnamon. No matter what it's always good. Boil and stir to make a simple syrup. When all the sugar is combined put the pan aside and wait for it to cool. When cool, add your vodka mix, stir and you are ready to bottle. Enjoy!

White Elephant

Our friend came up with the name since it's like a White Russian, but with our Chai Liqueur

Rocks glass with ice
1 1/2 oz vodka
3/4 oz chai liqueur
3/4 oz cream or milk

You can shake and strain or just serve it on the rocks. So good!

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