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Hooray! It’s the last day of my week-long Savory Summer Drink blog mini-series and I bet my regular readers are pretty fed up and hoping I get back to writing about books, blogging, travel, and reviews. However, it’s hot this time of year, so I’m writing about low calorie savory summer beverages that I use to keep cool and entertain my taste buds. If you are curious about the previous posts let me do a quick recap.
- Day One – Spicy Turmeric and Ginger Ice
- Day Two – Lemon Thyme and Lime Ice
- Day Three – Lavender and Vanilla Blended Ice
- Day Four – Savory Super Minty Mock Mojito
- Day Five – Rosemary Blended Ice with a Hickory Smoked Sea Salt Rim
- Day Six – Sage (Blossoms) and Orange Zest Blended Ice
And now we are on Day Seven…
Chai blended ice. I am a huge fan of chai. It is tasty and delicious. Most of the forms I adore are creamy, full of sugar, and fattening. Not really something I should be having often. But those things which are bad about chai aren’t the parts I like. It is the incredible combination of spices that I love. It’s hot, cold, and savory all at the same time. And that’s just the flavors. Once it is blended into an ice beverage it becomes even colder and refreshing (to me at least).
But Chai isn’t about the creamy caffeinated base. The appeal of Chai, for me at least, are the incredible aromatic spices to fill up my senses. A heady sharp flavor that’s somehow mellow at the same time. Another great thing about Chai is that it doesn’t have to be any one base; tea, coffee, milk, ice cream, cake, frosting, meat. Sweet or savory the uses are so very many. Now, time for the…
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1-cup ice cubes
1-teaspoon fresh grated ginger
¼-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8-teaspoon fresh ground black peppercorns
1/8-teaspoon ground cloves
½-teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon if you are using pre-ground nutmeg as it comes in small tight grains and nutmeg fresh grated on a microplane makes larger thin fluffy shreds.)
4 to 7-tablespoons fresh brewed coffee/black tea/hot beverage of your choice
1-tablespoon sweetened condensed milk, honey, or syrup for drizzling (optional)
*For a tropical (and vegan) twist, substitute coconut milk for the milk and add ¼-teaspoon vanilla extract
*To make it fancy use ¼-teaspoon vanilla seeds instead of extract, add a pinch of ground cardamom, and top with a ring of chocolate whipped cream and a cherry.
This recipe calls for a little more preparation than previous recipes in this series. I keep my ginger in the freezer so that when I grate it, it genuinely grates into smaller pieces and for mature and tougher roots this process makes it easier to separate the meat of the root from the fibrous strings, in it. Those of you who have grated fresh ginger before, know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s just easier to make it do what I want if it isn’t juicy.
Make your coffee, tea, or hot beverage of choice. Combine all ice cubes, spices, milk, and hot beverage in blending/food processing device of choice. Blend until beverage has reached desired consistency. Pour into a glass and enjoy. (If you’ve been following along with the series, you will know by now that I prefer my blended ice drinks if margarita glasses. Because they are pretty and when you are an adult you can do silly things at home like drink non-alcoholic beverages out of a margarita glass.) For those who like their chai a little sweeter you can drizzle honey, maple syrup, or sweetened condensed milk over the top. Or leave it plain for a low calorie treat because the only significant calories in the drink come from the two tablespoons of dairy.
The first time I made this recipe, my mom happened to wander into my kitchen. We were barbequing lambchops and I had made us fresh coffee for the evening. She was just supposed to have a regular cup of joe but when she saw what I was making asked if she could taste it. I never saw that drink again. The woman walked right out of my kitchen with it and I was left to make myself a new one.
If you’ve never tried sweetened condensed milk on a frozen desert the fact that I included it as an alternative topping will probably be surprising to you. It is something my mom likes on her shaved ice (A desert made by literally shaving flakes off a block of ice and then scooping them together like a snow cone. It’s very popular in Hawaii and you can often find it at multicultural food festivals.). So, when I was whipping up my chai, and decided I wanted a little bit of sweet on it, sweetened condensed milk was my go-to choice because my mom was with me. It can also be used on any of the other drinks in this series instead of honey or maple syrup.
(Some Chai recipes call for cardamom pods or ground cardamom, these do make a lovely addition to hot chai. When adding cardamom to black coffee I will leave pods whole. For chai I will buy ground/powdered cardamom because cardamom is a pod. The texture is not the same all the way through and I do not possess a device which can sufficiently grind it as finely as I want it ground. Another ingredient sometimes found in Chai recipes is cassia buds. I don’t use them regularly because all they are, are the dried flower buds of the Chinese Cinnamon Tree. They are just a type of cinnamon with a floral aspect to the taste. I use them the same way I use ground cinnamon in recipes, and they can be placed in a regular peppercorn mill for easier fresh grinding.)
This concludes my week-long mini blog-series on savory blended ice drinks. Each recipe has an alternative for sweetening so that the beverages are versatile for those who like things savory and those who like things sweet. If you’ve enjoyed this and want to see more recipes in the future, don’t forget to follow me for more mini-blogs coming up in the future. You won’t see any more for this month but I’m intending to do at least one mini blog-series per month. Each series will have a different theme.
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