We spent last month looking at hot drinks and were ready to move on this month to a new theme, low-proof cocktails. But then the skies opened up this week and dumped another mound of snow on top of us, so we’re still in the mood for hot drinks. Which means a gradual transition: this week’s drink spans both categories, a hot toddy built on low-proof Port wine. Best of both worlds. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Chai Hot Toddy
2 oz White Port
6 oz Chai Tea
1 tsp Sugar
Steamed or Foamed Milk
Combine the port, chai tea, and sugar in a mug and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Top with the milk and enjoy!
We tried this recipe a few times with stronger spirits, like bourbon, but it didn’t really come together until we decided to give the sweet, mellow white port wine a try. Port, made only in the Douro region of northern Portugal, is, like sherry, a fortified wine. White port is made from, you guessed it, white grapes and tends to be a bit sweeter and lower in proof than other ports. It’s mellow, a bit nutty, and makes for a great cocktail ingredient or aperitif wine.
The chai’s spiciness can clash with stronger spirits, and our first experiments were way too harsh. But the white port rounds out those spices, and the low proof – which is about half that of a liquor – avoids the sharp finish that a lot of hot toddies suffer from. And because of that low proof, you can enjoy a hot toddy with as much flavor as, say, our Maple Bourbon Hot Toddy, but without nearly as much alcohol – in case you wanted to have two or three and still be able to hold an intelligent conversation.
Steamed milk is a wonder of flavor and texture, but not everyone has a milk steamer handy. And, in any case, it’s a bit of a laborious process to properly steam milk and then clean up afterwords. So an easy work-around is to make foamed milk; not quite the same thing, and without as velvety a texture as steamed milk, but close enough for government work. Poor some milk into a cocktail shaker and shake, as hard as you can for as long as you can stand it, to froth the milk up. Then pour it into a microwave safe container and microwave for 30-40 seconds, which should stabilize the foam long enough for our purposes. Just spoon the foamed milk onto your hot toddy and you’re in business.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper