Spiked Almond Milk Chai Lattes

Happy hump day! We have had such a busy week that it feels like we should at least be to 3pm on a Friday. Why isn’t the weekend here yet? My body is feeling that 3pm Friday feelz where it has had ENOUGH of working and craves some weekend lounge time.

As I am not able to move the clocks à la Hermione Granger – I will sip on these spiked almond milk chai lattes to wish the days away until Friday instead. These hot spiked lattes are like a nice hug wrapped in a sweater and hiding under a fleece blanket. Soooooo comforting and warm. You can leave out the rum if you are looking for a breakfast version of this treat – but promise you will spike it later, ok? Dark spiced rum is just another beautiful layer of joy in this cup.

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I chose almond milk for these lattes because I think it adds a nice nutty flavor and cow’s milk doesn’t always agree with me, especially in the evening. You can use any milk that you prefer in this recipe! Make your tummy happy.

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The best part about this cocktail is that it all comes together in one pot. You can make this ahead of time (add rum just before serving) and keep warm until ready to serve. These cocktails would be great with some molasses cookies or pumpkin pie – any fall treat you are currently craving! If you do make ahead, be sure to remove the spices and tea bags so they don’t over-steep and overpower the latte.

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Speaking of spices… there are some real winners in here. Obviously chai tea bags come with a mix of warming spices already – but I added extra cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, and star anise to pump up the flavor. This recipe is adapted from Toast Magazine so head on over there for even more inspiration!

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Now go perk up with some spiked almond chai lattes and wrap yourself in a blanket until Friday arrives!


Spiked Almond Milk Chai Lattesdsc00896

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2-3 chai tea bags (3 if you want a stronger chai flavor)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 6 ounces dark spiced rum (to taste)
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions: Begin by bringing water to a light simmer. Add tea bags (remove any paper tags) and heat on low for 5 minutes. Add spices and continue to steep for 5 more minutes on low heat. Add milk and sugar and increase heat for 2-3 more minutes until very hot.

At this point you can consume as is for a regular chai latte. If you are preparing a large batch for a party, remove all tea bags and spices now and keep warm until read to serve. When you are ready to serve, move to the next step.

Remove from heat and remove tea bags and spices. Add dark spiced rum (please please please do not use light rum). Taste – add more sugar or rum as needed. I add a bit more brown sugar this point after tasting.

Serve in heat proof mugs or glasses and garnish with ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

Adapted from Toast Magazine.

 

The Jungle Bird

Welcome to the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki post! We are so excited to share some knowledge with you about tiki drinks. We recently attended a cocktail and bitters class at The Bittery in Raleigh and came home with tiki bitters, recipes for days, and a newfound excitement for mixing drinks. Tiki style drinks are everything we love about cocktails – juicy, tangy, fresh, and filled with rum. What’s not to love? We tried out a few tried and true recipes this week and settled on sharing this one! The Jungle Bird.

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The Jungle Bird is rumored to have started back in the 1970’s at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton. This tiki drink is newer and a bit different from the classics like the Pain Killer and Mai Tai because it includes Campari. Now if you remember from our post on Negronis, you know we are a bit hesitant about this bitter liquor. Fortunately, the ratio of Campari to rum and tropical juices really balances out the sweetness of this drink and makes for a more interesting cocktail.

The secret to this particular version of the Jungle Bird is the inclusion of coconut rum in addition to dark rum AND the use of special tiki bitters. The bitters are not necessary – and a bit challenging to replicate if you are not local to NC – but what a fantastic surprise they play in this cocktail. This recipe is from Crude Bitters and calls for 6-8 drops of their small batch tiki bitters. Cocktail bitters are essentially flavored extracts made from infusing herbs or fruits or flowers with alcohol. They are incredibly powerful and only require a few drops to change the flavors of a drink. These tiki bitters include toasted almonds, pineapple, and allspice.

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After experimenting with tiki recipes and these bitters, we know there is plenty more to come in this realm of cocktails. Stay tuned for more tiki-inspired drinks as we drag these summer flavors straight into cooler months! For now, take your Jungle Bird to the pool one last time and close that place down with booze in hand.

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The Jungle Birddsc08361

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 1 ounce coconut rum
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 0.5 ounces simple syrup
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Crushed ice
  • 6-8 drops Tiki Bitters from Crude Bitters

Instructions:

Be sure to make your simple syrup ahead of time. Check out our post on Peach Margaritas if you want to make your own! Add all ingredients (except bitters) to shaker with ice and shake vigorously until frothy and cold. Strain mixture over 2 glasses filled with crushed ice. If you are using bitters, now add 3-4 drops to each glass and stir to enjoy!

 

Frozen Piña Coladas

It is time for our very first guest recipe! This blog is a family affair. Our friends are a HUGE part of the success of this venture and they are always happy to be our taste testers and brainstorming partners. We have four ride-or-die friends that have made living in the South worthwhile, and they ALL can make a mean cocktail. This specific drink was made by a member of our “Raleigh Babes” crew, Jessie, for our Fourth of July, lakeside shindig and we freaked out at how amazing these were. I have been saving this recipe specifically for National Rum Day and am thrilled that the day is finally here!

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Let me tell you a bit about Jessie, the Piña Colada connoisseur. Most importantly, she is incredibly generous. She is quick to give heartfelt compliments, always happy to supply excessive amounts of cheese for a game night (although is there such thing as too much cheese…), teaches us how to be crafty, and always says yes to a day of treat yo’ self. She even let us take over her kitchen for this photo shoot and use her belongings as props!! She also takes a big ass wagon to the farmer’s market – no shame in the fresh produce game – and has a greener thumb than the rest of us. She’s awesome!

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Now, back to the alcohol. Pictured above is the day that this delightful beverage entered my life. This Piña Colada recipe is perfect for hot days at the lake, lazy days at the beach, and any day when you need something a little extra. We also forced Jessie’s husband into taking this photo as we yelled, “THIS NEEDS TO GO ON THE BLOG!!”.

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So here is Jessie’s famous Piña Colada recipe! This is a no fuss, no waiting around for fresh fruit to freeze, and no fancy juicing type of drink. Grab some frozen pineapple out of the freezer section, some pineapple juice (even better if it is has coconut water in it like this), cream of coconut, coconut milk, limes, and a ton of rum.  Throw all of it in a blender and add more frozen pineapple or ice as needed. Top with more rum if you are feeling extra boozy and drink up!

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Frozen Piña ColadasDSC07748.jpg

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4 generous portions

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces light rum
  • 4 ounces dark rum
  • 1 12oz bag frozen pineapple
  • 6 ounces cream of coconut
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Cubed ice

Instructions:

We recommend packaged frozen pineapple chunks and pineapple juice, but you are more than welcome to cut up a fresh pineapple and freeze it on your own if you have time. We used pineapple juice with coconut water for added flavor, but use whatever you prefer or have available. Add all ingredients to a blender and start with about 1/2 cup of ice. Add more ice as needed to reach desired consistency. Top with additional dark rum if you are feeling frisky and enjoy!

Mango Mojitos

Happy (belated) National Mojito Day! What a perfectly refreshing drink for peak summer heat and outdoor activities. Mojitos really check all of the boxes for a perfect cocktail – sweetness from muddled sugar and lime, freshness from mint leaves, and a little fizz from club soda. And of course you can’t forget the RUM. Everything you need for poolside, lakeside, beachfront, or plain old couch-sitting sipping.

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This week I found wonderfully ripe mangoes at the grocery store, so this is a little twist on a traditional mojito. Before getting to the recipe, I want to share a little information about how to select the perfect mango and chop it up so you can really embrace the fruit in your cocktails. Mangoes were such a mystery to me until I got to college and finally learned how to cut one up. They do have a hard “pit” in the center and cannot be cut down the middle like most fruits. I have butchered my fair share of mangoes trying to get around that tough center. Mangoes can also be super tart and unappealing if you grab them before they are ripe. The best way to check whether a mango is ripe is giving it a gently squeeze and looking at the stem. If the stem pops off easily and the flesh gives a little to your squeeze, you should (gently) throw that sucker in your basket! Do not go off color alone, some mangoes do not change color as they ripen.

Once you are ready to devour your mango, cut it in thirds from the top to avoid the center. You will toss the middle chunk and just cut up the flesh like an avocado. I score my mango using a sharp knife in straight lines. First I score from top to bottom and then side to side. Do not cut through the skin! Try to keep your slices just through the flesh of the fruit so you can then flip the skin inside out and chop off your perfect little cubes! This sounds like some creepy Dexter dialogue – so please see photos below to avoid listening to my “skin” and “flesh” cutting talk any longer.

Once your mango is ready to go – you can make this Mango Mojito! Mojitos have a weird reputation for being challenging to make. I have heard countless stories of friends ordering them at the pool bar and getting an eye roll from the bartender or the “we are out of mint!” story. Don’t fall for it, make these suckers at home any chance you get.

First, you want to muddle your mint, lime juice, and sugar. This will release the oils from the mint leaves and really ensure a strong aroma and flavor. While these mojitos do have mango, I think you still need some of the sugar to add sweetness. Once your mint, lime juice, and sugar is muddled – add your mango chunks and muddle a little more to release juices from the fruit. It is essential that you have a super ripe mango here that is easily crushed and juiced.

Add ice, rum, and shake like crazy! Once my drinks were adequately shaken, I had trouble getting the liquid out because of the mango pulp. My little shaker holes failed me and I ended using a mesh strainer over a cup to get the liquid out. Improvise when you need to! You are at home and no one is judging your choice of cocktail creating tools.

Add your cocktail mixture to a glass with ice, torn mint leaves, and extra mango chunks for the perfect summertime mojito.

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Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 mangoes
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • Juice from 5-6 limes
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 ounces dark rum
  • Club soda
  • Cubed ice

Instructions:

Put 5-6 mint leaves to the side for garnish and then add remaining leaves to your shaker. Add juice from limes and sugar to shaker, and muddle with mint leaves. I like a lot of lime juice in my mojitos, so use 6-7 limes for 4 people if you are like me. Add mango cubes from 2 whole mangoes to shaker and muddle gently. Once you have juiced your mango cubes and broken them down, add rum and ice to shaker. Shake for 30 seconds or until glass is very cold.

Add ice, torn mint leaves, and remaining mango cubes from your third fruit to 4 tall glasses. Strain cocktail mixture evenly among glasses and top with club soda. Give a little stir and enjoy!