Just the right spice, just the right heat: Chai Rum Hot Toddy

Hey mid-Atlantic and Northeast friends! It’s pretty cold isn’t it? Dang.

I’m not usually one to let weather affect me, or my plans. Of course this isn’t necessarily a good thing; there have been times I have been in slightly dangerous situations, and times when I have been quite physically uncomfortable. But a little rain? I’m still going to trek through Manhattan to try some diner I heard of, or walk the streets of Nashville in December with no umbrella. Snow is making it challenging to drive? I will walk to Trader Joe’s for groceries. I will say that I’m not nearly as hard-core as my dad, who went skiing the other day in -10 degrees Fahrenheit BEFORE windchill.

Along with variations on food, I can be tempted by an interesting cocktail when I dine out. Recently, at a fairly upscale restaurant (Red Rooster Harlem) I paid $15 for a variation on a hot toddy that I actually could barely palate. It had some kind of spice that made me cough, along with all three of my dinner companions (of course I made them try it). Based on my experience, I can’t really recommend this place in general, but the only perspective I have is from arriving promptly when the restaurant opened for dinner without a reservation on a Saturday night.

Guess what? I have all the ingredients to make my own variation on warm winter cocktail at home.

I incorporated not one but TWO homemade holiday gifts I had received: a spiced rum, and a chai tea concentrate. I realize that this means you’d have hard time replicating it, but I will include a suggestion that uses your own ingredients as a shortcut.
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Chai Rum Toddy
Name and ratios suggested by Imbibe
To make 2:
16 ounces of water, boiled in a tea kettle
2 bags of black tea, or English Breakfast
3 ounces of spiced rum, whatever brand you prefer, divided
2 heaping teaspoons of chai tea concentrate, divided

Pour hot water into a vessel to steep the 2 tea bags for 4 minutes.
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Pour tea into two serving glasses.

We have a ton of different types of drinking glasses, but darn, we don't have an authentic glass mug for hot toddies!

We have a ton of different types of drinking glasses, but darn, we don’t have an authentic glass mug for hot toddies!


If you're feeling fancy, add some kind of garnish (cinnamon stick, piece of orange or lemon rind, star anise pod). It will make a better picture :)

If you’re feeling fancy, add some kind of garnish (cinnamon stick, piece of orange or lemon rind, star anise pod). It will make a better picture 🙂

Measure about 1.5 ounces of rum and pour into each glass. Add a spoonful of chai tea concentrate and stir until combined. Drink immediately and feel warm and fuzzy.

Suggested variation:
16 ounces of water, boiled in a tea kettle
2 bags of chai tea
3 ounces of spiced rum
, divided
2 heaping teaspoons of honey, divided
A splash of milk or cream, to taste

Bundle up out there!

2 thoughts on “Just the right spice, just the right heat: Chai Rum Hot Toddy

  1. That’s really disappointing that Red Rooster Harlem wasn’t great. I just read Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir (really good) and his restaurant sounded so interesting.

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