a chai cocktail with golden raisin-infused spiced rum & a homemade vanilla chai simple syrup. this chai cocktail is just as perfect for date night at home as it is for celebrating with friends & loved ones this winter season. the rum takes on the subtle golden sweetness of the raisins, & the simple syrup is infused with chai spices, ginger & vanilla. shaken with fresh-squeezed lime juice & topped with fresh grated nutmeg, this chai cocktail is seriously winter cocktail perfection. cheers!
hi friends. it has been a while. how are you doing? how was your holiday & how has the start of 2017 been for you so far?
our holiday season ended up being bittersweet. in the weeks leading up to christmas, we sadly had an unexpected death on chris’ side of the family that caused me to hit the brakes a bit on the blog & the cookies & the gift wrapping & the ugly sweater parties, & instead shift focus on being present with loved ones to not only mourn a profound loss but also celebrate a beautiful, beautiful life.
after christmas, chris & i returned to minneapolis craving something new, refreshing, & happy. we treated each other to a belated christmas gift – a 9-week old german shepherd puppy. we’ve been dying to make this addition to our family ever since one of our very first dates in milwaukee. i introduced our little guy a few weeks back on instagram & he’s been nothing but wonderfully lively & mischievous ever since then. (& don’t worry, i have a big post on him in the works – but in the meantime, be sure to follow along with @playswellwithbutter on instagram for more puppy updates!)
so…life so far in 2017 has consisted of blissfully enjoying the simpler things: trying to keep up with the pup & finding a new routine to fall into as a small family. & i freaking love it.
because our pup is adjusting to his brand new home, we’ve been staying in a bit more than usual lately. no places to go, no people to see. just the two of us enjoying a cozy & relaxing night in our home together with our little guy. it’s one of my favorite 2017 rituals that we have.
a cheese board is usually involved. pizza is sometimes ordered. we generally can come to an agreement on what movie to watch after scrolling through netflix & disagreeing on almost everything (any other married folks out there who can relate??).
oh, & cocktails. cocktails are always involved.
like this golden raisin rum chai cocktail.
omg omg omg omg omg omg.
you guys know that i am fanatical for anything chai, but chai spices serving as the flavor base for the most delicious cocktail imaginable??
come. on. game over!
the inspiration for this cocktail came from one of my favorite craft cocktail spots of all time, merchant in madison, wisconsin. located just off the capitol square, merchant is madison’s original craft cocktail joint & they serve up cocktails & elevated bar food that is just as comforting as it is inventive & delicious. we have family & friendship ties that bring us to madison pretty regularly & whenever we are in town it’s imperative that we stop in to see what’s new on the cocktail list at merchant.
& by cocktail list, i mean cocktail book.
seriously, the number of cocktails developed by the mixology masterminds behind their bar program is craaaaaazy.
what’s even crazier is that they’re all delicious. yes. all of them.
so when we stopped in last fall while we were in town for a wedding, & i saw that one of their featured fall cocktails, dubbed, “the north remembers,” highlighted golden raisin-infused rum & vanilla chai syrup, i nearly lost my mind.
the best part is that “the north remembers” was every bit delicious as it sounded. i drank two.
(& then i made chris take me back the next morning for two more over brunch. i wish i was lying. i’m not. totally serious. you can’t make this stuff up.)
this chai cocktail starts with a golden raisin-infused rum.
add golden raisins & a gold rum of your choice (i just use bacardi – it’s a staple in our bar at home!) to a sealable container. allow the rum & raisins to sit for twelve hours or overnight until the raisins are plump.
the gold rum’s already caramelly flavors are enhanced by the sweetness of the raisins.
golden raisin-infused rum makes the perfect complement for warm chai spices…
the next layer of flavor to this chai cocktail is a homemade vanilla chai simple syrup.
simple syrup is basically fancy-talk that translates to sugar water, & it’s a staple for any home bar. you can buy little artisanal bottles of simple syrup at your local liquor store, but honestly, don’t waste your money. simple syrup is SO easy to make at home, & there are so many different flavor combinations you can play with for cocktails a-plenty.
to make a simple syrup, you heat water & sugar together in a pot over a medium boil until the sugar dissolves.
for a vanilla chai variation, i start with brown sugar for that deep caramel flavor, & add a vanilla bean & warm chai spices (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves….mmmmm…) to the mix.
you can store your simple syrup in a sealed container in the fridge for about 2 weeks. continue to enjoy with chai cocktails, or make yourself a chai latte!
to make your chai cocktail, combine your infused rum & chai simple syrup in a shaker with lime juice & a pinch of salt.
shake, shake, shake. shake, shake. shaaaaake and……voila!
top with a grate of fresh nutmeg & enjoy!
this chai cocktail is seriously addictive. the golden & caramelly flavor of the rum lends itself perfectly to the deep flavor of warm chai spices & the zing of the lime juice cuts right through the sweetness of both the rum & the simple syrup are balanced.
an elegant, balanced, & delicious cocktail that is perfectly festive for a winter gathering with friends – or perfectly cozy for a date night at home with your boo.
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 2 cups gold rum
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
- 1 vanilla bean, halved & seeds scraped
- 1 3" stick of cinnamon
- 2 allspice berries
- 10 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 1.5 oz golden raisin-infused rum (above)
- 0.5 oz vanilla chai simple syrup (above)
- 0.5 oz fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
- pinch of kosher salt
- nutmeg, for garnish (optional)
- combine golden raisins & gold rum in sealable, air tight container, & allow them to sit together for 12-24 hours until the raisins are plump & the rum is infused with the sweetness of the raisins.
- strain & store refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
- combine water, brown sugar, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, & star anise in a heavy bottomed pot & bring to a boil. reduce to a simmer & cook for about 5 minutes.
- strain & store refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
- combine golden raisin rum, vanilla chai simple syrup, lime juice, & kosher salt in a shaker with ice.
- shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.
- strain & top with fresh grated nutmeg (optional, but encouraged).
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