Chai Hot Toddy

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Two: International Week

It’s Friday, and I’m still bummed (understatement of the month) about the election. Given that last Friday I featured an alcoholic drink, I decided that I’d do the same thing this Friday. New MoFo tradition! And a way to salve my aching soul! So today I bring you a vegan chai hot toddy: the perfect beverage to sip on a cold night as you wonder what the hell went wrong and/or make plans to enact your vagenda of manocide.

How does this relate to international week, you ask? According to my sources (read: things I found on the internet), the hot toddy is a drink of British extraction by way of India. (Apparently there is an actual “toddy” palm tree, and the sap featured in the earliest of these drinks.) Today’s hot toddy differs quite a bit from its earliest form, and not just because we omit the toddy palm sap these days: the original British toddy was not hot at all, and was in fact served cold.

Vegan chai hot toddy //

I think we can all agree that chilly November nights call for something warm, however, and you’d better believe that my hot toddy is gonna be piping hot. I typically make them with black tea, but today I decided to make it with chai as a nod to the toddy’s Indian heritage, and the warming spices are a perfect addition. I used a pre-made chai blend — this Bhakti Fiery Masala Chai is my current favorite. If you prefer a DIY version, try this chai masala blend. Feel free to adjust the sweetener to taste; depending on how fiery your chai is, you might want a little more agave.

Chai Hot Toddy

Serves 1

  • 8 oz hot water
  • 1 serving chai (tea bag or loose-leaf blend)
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • Dash vanilla extract (about 1/8 tsp; optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz. blended whiskey (don’t use your fancy single-malt here!)


Pour the hot water over the tea bag and stir in the agave nectar and vanilla extract, if using. Steep to your preferred strength, then add remaining ingredients, stir, and enjoy.

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Blueberry-Infused Vodka, aka My First MoFo Fail

Oh dear. We’re only three days into MoFo and I’ve already experienced my first fail. I had such high hopes, too. A few weeks ago, I made a basil-infused vodka that turned out really well—after just a week of infusing, the vodka was super flavorful. High on my success, I put some of my frozen blueberries into another glass jar of vodka and eagerly watched as the liquid turned a surprising and stunning shade of ultraviolet. Yesterday, I made myself a drink with the infusion, a simple concoction of simple syrup, the blueberry vodka, and club soda. I imagined a light, fruity, fizzy spritzer, perfect for the 90˚F Labor Day holiday. It certainly looked the part.

blueberry-infused-vodka_9655919519_oAlas! Like a vapid pop star*, its looks were really all this drink had going for it. It was dull and tasted mostly of the club soda, with no discernible blueberry taste at all. Crushed and not wanting to waste the vodka I’d already infused, I went back to the drawing board. I muddled another handful of blueberries in a mortar and pestle, then added some sugar and let them stew in their juices for a half hour or so. Then I added that liquidy mess back into the vodka and put it all back on the shelf to infuse some more. Here’s hoping that next week, I’ll taste the infusion and come back triumphant, with a post about my success. If you don’t hear anything, assume the worst.

Have you ever made an infused alcohol? If so, what’s the secret?!

* That was a cheap shot; I know a total of zero pop stars and shouldn’t disparage the ones I don’t know personally.