Side note first, I couldn’t figure out what to call this drink! It’s not a mule, not a bourbon smash and definitely not an old-fashioned. So what kind of bourbon cocktail is it?!? If you can think of something better, let me know!
We finally made it back from India! We survived, though I never doubted it. I’m in love with this country. OBVIOUSLY because of the food and the spices, but also the sounds, sights and the people. We made these cocktails this week as we reminisced about our trip. The good, the bad and everything in between. It had to be chai-flavoured, because I’m not ready to let go of this trip! This chai-spiced apple cider bourbon drink is the perfect fall cocktail. It’s cozy but still refreshing, and the fall flavours of apple and cinnamon come through with every sip.
We’ve been sipping this cocktail over the past weekend while we reminisced about our trip. It’s been a lot to process to be honest. We sat on the couch, working through each day’s events. What frustrated us, what made us me cry, what we hated and what we loved. Would we go back? Would we do this kind of trip again? We spent the majority of our first week working in the slums. It was heartbreaking and we came home every night with full hearts and wet eyes. It was rewarding but frustrating, how do you deal with that!?
We came home exhausted, emotionally spent and jet lagged. I’m not sure I’ve processed it all yet, but writing helps. This helps. Maybe spewing my emotional baggage on this post isn’t what this blog is about, but I think it’s honest. How can I pretend after all that?
It’s been a week of reflection. On what we have, on what they don’t. On a country that can be so beautiful, even in poverty-stricken villages. On the generosity of its’ people, offering tea while we worked in the slums. To give us something when they have nothing.
You would think that I would be sick of those chai spices by now, but I’m really not! We drank it every day and the taste was so comforting. I knew I had to add those flavours into this cocktail. If we were going to reminisce on our adventures in India while we drank these, it needed to remind us of it a little at least!
I simmered apple cider with some whole spices to infuse those notorious chai spices into our cocktail. I let the apple cider cool before I strained out the spices. I added it, some ice and bourbon to the cocktail shaker, got it a bit of a workout while I shook it (not really, but it makes me feel better to think so), strained it into the glasses and topped them with ginger beer. I usually add fresh ginger to my chai anyways, so the ginger beer seemed like a natural top off!
It just occurred to me as well that this would be great served warm too, but it’s still 20 degrees outside so a cozy drink isn’t needed yet. But I’ll save that tidbit in my back pocket for the next few months!
Chai-Spiced Apple Cider:
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cardamom pods
- 4 cloves
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 3 star anise
Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail:
- 4 oz chai-spiced apple cider
- 2 oz bourbon
- ginger beer or hard cider
- In a small saucepan, add the ingredients for the spiced apple cider and heat over medium heat. Once it starts to simmer, remove from heat and let it cool. Once cooled, strain the spices out to discard and keep the spiced apple cider for the cocktail.
- To make the cocktail, add the chai-spiced apple cider, bourbon and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds then strain into two glasses filled with more ice. Top with ginger beer then serve!
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