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With temperatures turning cooler, warm up from the inside out with a spiced and spiked chai latte.
Sometimes writing about food and drink seems just plain silly. When the world is turned upside down from senseless tragedy or seemingly insurmountable natural disasters, talking about a pinch of salt or a splash of vinegar seems shallow and insignificant. Truth be told, I had a blog post all written and ready to go, but I just couldn’t hit publish.
My heart, like everyone else’s, was simply broken yesterday. We woke up to devastating news and as I saw it unfold on the tv, my son walked into the room. I had to do my best to explain to him what had transpired while we were neatly tucked in our beds overnight and attempt to make sense out of a completely senseless situation. Well, obviously there was no sense to be made, but I needed to find the balance of relaying the gravity of the events, while softening it just enough so he could eat his breakfast, walk to school and not feel completely consumed by it (as I was). This is when I’m grateful for the veil of childhood narcissism. The feeling of being infallible that no one wears more proudly than an 11 year old boy. It’s not lack of empathy, but rather the safety in the feeling that it can never happen to you. And frankly, I wish I could borrow his cloak.
My heart grows heavier with every headline updating us with the latest developments and stories about those directly effected by the tragedy in Las Vegas. Outside of food, music is my other true love and I consider concerts the oasis in the swirling storm of life. Live music is pure joy to me and when the music moves through you, to look around and share that joy with like-minded people, regardless of how we vote, who we pray to, or the color of our skin, well that’s my religion. And now it’s the third time an act so heinous has occurred when people were simply out to enjoy, to celebrate, and let loose at a concert. It’s beyond words.
So, talking about herbs and spices, sugar and flour, well it just seems petty. I toggle between wanting to be earnest and real about my thoughts and feelings of the recent events while also understanding that you might be visiting this blog for a respite, a break from the heaviness of life. Today I teeter somewhere between reality and escape. I felt the need to acknowledge the unspeakable, but still provide you with a little comfort. I don’t know about you, but cradling a warm mug in my hands and blowing gently on the hot liquid is just as soothing today as it was when I was a child. This particular mug is filled with warm, spiced chai latte that will not only warm your bones, but it will fill your home with a soothing aroma while it steeps.
I made a boozy version for us today, because well, we need it. Spiced rum and a drop of orange liqueur compliment all of those cozy, fall flavors in the spiced tea and help to take the edge off just a bit. But, as a side note, this latte is just as delicious if you want to skip the buzz and omit the alcohol. Trust me, you’ll find just as much (well almost as much) comfort in the G-rated version as the R-rated.
I hope that you find a little solace in your mug, a moment of calm in the swirl of anguish enveloping us as of late. My heart is with those that lost their lives and those that are suffering and I am grateful beyond measure to the heroes that put the safety of others before their own. I’m going to fill a cup, turn up the music, and feel all the feelings. I plan to play Tom Petty (RIP) on a loop and sing as my heart swells and tears sting my eyes. And I’ll hold my boys tight, talk to them honestly, and discuss what we can do to help. As much as I wish a big slice of pie would fix everything, I know there’s so much more to do so that the tragic events of yesterday become the anomaly instead of the norm.
- 2 cups water
- 4 spiced chai black tea bags or plain black tea
- 2 strips of orange peel
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cardamom pods smashed (and optional)
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar packed
- 2 cups 1% milk or milk of your choice
- 4 oz spiced rum
- 1 1/2 oz Cointreau or orange liqueur of your choice
Combine the water, tea bags, orange peel, spices and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and turn off the heat.
Allow the mixture to steep for 10-15 mins and then strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the tea bags and discarding the solids.
Add the milk and warm until simmering over low heat. Add the rum and orange liqueur and buzz with an immersion blender or blend in a blender until frothy. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired and serve warm.