There’s something about the warming combination of tea and liquor that works so well as a drink in winter. And while the most commonly associated spirits with the colder months are likely whiskey and brandy, this charming concoction instead uses cachaça, Brazil’s favorite spirit.
Like rum, cachaça is made with sugarcane; however, unlike many rums, it is made with pure sugarcane instead of molasses, putting it in a similar category to rhum agricole and the rums from Guatemala. Rarely aged, the drink is one of the most popular spirits in the world due to its consumption in the populous country of its origin, Brazil. While delicious on its own over some ice or just in a glass, its most popular form is in the shape of a Caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink. In it cachaça is enhanced with some lime and sugar—it’s not unlike a Daiquiri, though it’s usually made with full slices of lime shaken directly in the drink, then the whole thing is poured into a glass, ice and all.
Most cachaças have a fruity, grassy flavor to them, not uncommonly with notes of lychee or stone fruit. This recipe calls for Avuá Cachaça, a well-regarded cachaça made by one of Brazil’s few female distillers, but feel free to substitute it with another cachaça of your choice. Whatever you use, it brings a lot of brightness to the party and contrasts with the warm spices of Chai. As for the Chai, any tea bag will do the trick, but if you want to up the flavor a bit try using a loose-leaf blend of your favorite spiced tea.
While the Chai brings a lot of the spice and pepperiness to the drink, King’s Ginger Liqueur adds even more ginger bite as well as some sweetness. A high quality liqueur made with real macerated ginger and some citrus oil, it makes for a nice addition to any liquor collection. However, there are alternatives, including the famed Domaine de Canton, a French liqueur that is similar in price to King’s and is a little warmer and a little less sweet.
- 1 bag Chai tea
- 1 ounce Avuá Amburana Cachaça
- 1 ounce King’s Ginger Liqueur
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- Garnish: Lemon wheel stuffed with cloves and cinnamon stick
Soak one tea bag in a half mug of hot water for three minutes.
Remove the tea bag, add the rest of the ingredients and top with more hot water.
Garnish with lemon wheel stuffed with four to five cloves and a cinnamon stick.