Two of the most pleasing beverages in autumn and during the colder months are apple cider and chai. Even when served cold, the spices of chai and the sweet, crisp flavors of apple have a warming effect on the body. Add some alcohol for additional warmth, and you’ve got yourself a pleasing concoction to be enjoyed year-round.
The Ruby Chai Appletini comes from bartender H. Joseph Ehrmann, the owner of Elixir, a famed San Francisco bar and one of the longest continually running taverns in the whole city. Those whose minds immediately go to the sickly-sweet, electric green concoction normally referred to as an Appletini, can rest assured that, like an improved Appletini recipe, this is not one of those. Instead, it’s a double dose of chai infused into vodka and cider, with muddled apple and a bit of agave nectar for sweetness.
For this recipe, Ehrmann uses Numi Ruby Chai, a popular brand of organic bagged teas that are readily available in most grocery stores. You can, of course, substitute your own favorite chai, including loose leaf and homemade varieties. Keep in mind that the spice and ginger levels can vary widely. This chai gets a bath in Square One Organic vodka, a label local to San Francisco. Given vodka’s mostly limited flavor variance, substituting another vodka should work just fine so long as it isn’t dreadfully cheap.
Similarly, you can use an apple other than gala for muddling—seasonal heritage apple varieties can be delicious, especially when freshly picked from an orchard or at a farmer’s market. Even major grocery store outlets will likely have something good on hand, just be sure to grab an organic one with no wax.
- 1 quarter organic gala apple
- 1 1/2 ounces chai-infused vodka*
- 1 1/2 ounces chai-infused cider**
- 1/2 ounce organic agave nectar
- Garnish: apple slice
In a shaker, muddle the apple until the consistency of applesauce.
Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake for 10 seconds.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with an apple slice.
*Chai-infused vodka: Add 1 Numi ruby chai bag and 6 ounces Square One Organic vodka into a Mason jar or other glass container and let infuse for 1 to 2 hours before removing tea bag.
**Chai-infused cider: Add 6 ounces organic apple cider into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Turn off heat and add 1 Numi Ruby chai bag. Let steep for 3 to 5 minutes and remove tea bag.