Ooohhhhh Christmas! Such a special time of year where many of us get to celebrate and enjoy time with family and friends. With so many social occasions in the diary this potentially means a lot of parties, late nights and over indulgence in food and drink. A theme that has almost become more synonymous with Christmas than the actually holiday itself!
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a glass of mulled wine and minced pie, or two!, but sometimes I wish there was an equally delicious alcohol free alternative offered to me. With sugar packed fizzy drinks or water sometimes the only alcohol free drink on offer, wine might seem like the natural option on a cold winter evening.
So what better gift to give your loved ones than the permission not to drink and providing a yummy alcohol free alternative to mulled wine or bubbles? This warming Chai recipe will not only leave you hangover free, but will actually help to restore your life force (or what is referred to as Ojas in Ayurveda) and give you energy for the rest of the festive season.
Massala Chai is a famous Indian drink enjoyed throughout the year in India and increasingly across the globe. There is no fixed recipe; rather families and regions enjoy their own special formula and method of making their beloved chai. They all use black tea as a base making it a caffeinated drink, though decaffeinated tea can be used, or I have even experimented making this with Rooibos tea which you may find requires less sweetening.
The pungent herbs used all stimulate the agni (digestive fire) making this a warming drink perfect for the colder seasons. Each ingredient perfectly accompanies one another with cardamon helping to break down the mucilaginous qualities of milk (if you decide to use traditional dairy milk) and balancing the stimulating effects of the caffeine. Ginger has both a warming and cooling effect on the body, soothing digestion by stimulating bile flow in the liver; a perfect pre-digestive. Cinnamon is another popular herb used in ayurveda and helps give chai its festive appeal to the west.
I love the simplicity of this recipe almost as much as the end result and such a gift to be able to share with friends and family. Enjoy!
To make 2 cups
- ½ inch ginger
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tbsp of sweetener of your choice (honey, maple syrup, sugar)
- 2 tbsp black tea
- 1 cup of almond milk, or other dairy free milk, or normal cows milk
- Pinch of cardamon, crushed fresh pods is best
- Pinch of cinnamon
- First boil 1 cup of water with the minced ginger for 5-10 minutes, the longer you leave it the spicier it will be
- Then add 1 tbsp of sweetener to create your ginger syrup base
- Then add 2 tbsp of black tea, 1 cup of nut milk and bring to the boil
- Turn the heat off and add the cardammon and cinnamon.
- Cover for 5 minutes, strain and enjoy
You can easily make a bigger batch of the ginger syrup ahead of time, adding the tea and spices before the milk, then just steam ½ cup of milk and add to ½ cup of the base as guests arrive. Feel free to play around with the proportions and create your very own Massala chai.
Chloe Manlay is a qualified Nutritional Therapist BSc (Hons) and 300 hour certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher. These trainings allow a unique perspective of working holisitically to heal the mind, body and soul with the aim of promoting lasting happiness, wellbeing and freedom. She currently works at a retreat centre on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. She is available for skype consultations and can be reached at email@example.com, www.chloemanlay.com, Instagram: @Chloe Manlay