Y’all, it’s getting hot around here, and since I live in NYC, land of dripping window units and crazy-high Con Ed bills, I try to stick it out in the summer weather as long as I can. This leaves me with more money for food and alcohol, as well as a feeling of superiority at being tougher than my neighbors. This city might be an urban heat island but I grew up AC-less in North Carolina, and I will take July’s heat and humidity over February’s unending polar vortex any day.
Besides, there are few pleasures more childlike than the race against time to slurp-eat an ice pop before it melts all the way down your arm. Although when you’re boozing up said ice pop, childlike becomes a less appropriate adjective, but a tasty treat all the same.
A few months ago, I received a bottle of George Dickel No. 1 White Corn Whiskey from a press event. I knew right away that I wanted to infuse it. I often use vodka or grain alcohol for these purposes and was curious whether the corn whiskey would have any noticeable effect. At 91 proof, it’s not excessively strong, but that was actually a benefit in this case, as I decided to mix in chai spices which take no time at all to make their presence felt.
Since the spices were already ground, a quick infusion was all that the whiskey needed to take on intense chai flavors. (If you’re hearing “chai” and thinking “tea bag,” see this post for a quick lesson on masala.) After only one hour, voila! A tasty chai whiskey that could easily accommodate some simple syrup for a chai liqueur.
So back to the hot weather. I found some darling ice pop molds at Ikea this week for $2 and that was all the inspiration I needed. I mixed the chai whiskey with a little milk and some leftover sweet tea and popped those suckers in the freezer for a few hours. And then, at the hottest point of the day, I went to town.
Chai-Infused White Corn Whiskey
– 1 cup white whiskey, e.g. George Dickel No. 1
– 1/2 tsp. ground chai masala
Mix whiskey and masala in a glass jar and let infuse for one hour, agitating once or twice. Strain through a coffee filter and store unrefrigerated in a glass jar indefinitely. (If there are no stray chai bits in, this should last at least six months to a year.)
Optional: Blend with simple syrup to taste for chai liqueur.
Chai Whiskey Ice Pops
Note: Measure the amount of liquid your ice pop tray can hold. If more or less than what is called for here, adjust accordingly. Adding a higher proportion of alcohol may alter your mixture’s ability to freeze fully.
– 1 cup+ sweetened iced tea (the stronger the better)
– 2 Tbs chai whiskey
– 2 Tbs milk
Mix ingredients and pour into ice pop molds, topping off with more tea if needed. Chill for 3–4 hours.
Thanks to Taylor Strategy for the bottle of George Dickel No. 1.