Back in March, during my detox, I gave up caffeine for the month. And my relationship with coffee has never been the same.
While I probably drink just as much as I did before going off alcohol, I’ve made a conscious effort to try to only drink coffee during times of intentional hedonism or mornings of extreme desperation, like when my alcohol consumption has exceeded expectations.
Most of the time though, I love not being dependent on coffee to defog my head, even if my local hipster barista looks at me with a hint of an eye roll every time I order herbal tea out on the town. But the one thing I miss is indulging in a special drink every once in a while that takes a little more effort to make than just pouring hot water in a mug.
Since it’s the holiday season and Starbucks already rolled out the red carpet for their spiced beverages back in September, I thought I’d get in on the action by creating a healthy version of my two favorite specialty morning beverages: the pumpkin spice latte and a vanilla Chai tea.
This pumpkin chai tea latte recipe indeed involves more effort than simply pouring hot water into a mug. But not that much more. You simply steep the tea bags and blend with pumpkin puree and milk until frothy. To make it extra creamy, I use dairy-free almond milk and a little whipped coconut cream dolloped on top, though you could easily opt for the full-fat dairy version.
And to make your time drinking this winter bevie by the fire even cozier, I’ve given you the choice to spike your chai tea latte with a little vodka. The end result tastes a little bit like a spiced white Russian, and might leave you feeling subsequently Dude-like if you drink too many. You might then also find yourself in need of a little extra coffee pick-me-up the next day, in which case you can swap in 2 shots of espresso for the Chai tea, so long as the idea of making a morning latte from scratch doesn’t sound like the hangover equivalent of running a marathon.
Finally, since it’s the holidays and all, you might want to consider sharing the joy of pumpkin spiced drinks with all your friends. To do so, you can easily make a big batch of these Chai tea lattes for your next holiday party. Just whip everything together in a pot using an immersion blender and keep it on very low heat so the alcohol doesn’t burn off. Set up a buffet of accoutrements—the whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, and even some chocolate syrup—along side it and let your guests ladle themselves a drink.
Happy holidays ya’ll!
Inspired by Cookie and Kate.
- One 5.4 ounce can coconut cream
- 2 cups water
- 2 individual spiced Chai tea bags (I use organic horjicha chai)
- 1 cinnamon stick (plus more for serving)
- 1 cup almond milk
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 2 ounces vodka (optional)
- Place the coconut cream in a medium mixing bowl and chill in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, bring the water to boil. Cover the tea bags with the boiling water and steep for 20 minutes.
- While the tea is steeping, combine the almond milk, pumpkin, and honey in a small food processor. Pulse until frothy and smooth.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and tea bag. Whisk in the pumpkin milk and reheat over a low flame. Add the vodka, if using.
- Once the coconut cream is chilled, whisk it by hand until thickened. It won’t become as dense as whipped cream, but you want it to be foamy enough to sit on the top of the glass.
- Ladle the tea into mugs and top with the coconut cream and a cinnamon stick for garnish.
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