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food photographer & stylist

Masala chais are an afternoon staple in many Indian homes, and while I myself am a big coffee drinker, I do find myself enjoying a cup of hot spiced tea in the afternoons. On a recent to trip my local Whole Foods in Red Bank, NJ, I stumbled upon a masala tea concentrate by Dona Chai, a small-batch producer of chai concentrates based in Brooklyn. While this is usually something I could make at home, I have to admit that it was the packaging that caught my eye initially.

That afternoon, I made the bold step of making a cup of masala chai INSTEAD of my usual french press (what??) and hoped it wouldn’t disappoint. From the moment I poured the concentrate into my little pot, my kitchen was filled with this lovely scent of cardamom, ginger and cinnamon, exactly how I’d make my own masala chai! As I indulged in my masala tea that afternoon, another thought popped into my head – what if I made this into a cocktail?

After experimenting a little with some gin, I came up with this hot toddy recipe that is just perfect for cold winter nights. If you ever find Dona Chai at your local grocer, do pick up a bottle. You won’t be disappointed!

Serves up an 8oz hot toddy
Ingredients:
3 oz Dona Chai Masala Concentrate (Original)
4 oz milk or milk alternative
1 tsp turbinado sugar
1 oz. gin
1 oz milk (or alternative), set aside to be frothed at the end
a dusting of fresh nutmeg
Method:
In a small pot, add the sugar, milk and chai concentrate. Bring to boil. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
In a cocktail glass, add 1 oz of gin. Remove the pot from the stove, and gently pour the hot chai mix into the glass, giving it a little stir. Top the Dona Masala Chai Hot Toddy with the frothed milk and top that off with some freshly grated nutmeg.
Find a warm spot under a blanket, or preferably near a fireplace, and serve immediately 🙂

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