Recipe by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson
Start to Finish: 40 minutes
2 tbsp. cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches), crumbled
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
2 tsp. black tea leaves
1 1/2 tsp. very finely chopped dried ginger (not ground ginger) or crystallized ginger
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 cups whole milk
2 to 4 tbsp. sugar, to taste
1. In a mortar and pestle or a spice mill, coarsely grind the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in the tea leaves, ginger, fennel seeds, and cloves.
2. In a large saucepan, bring the milk, spice blend, and 3 cups water almost to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer the chai for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the chai into a large pitcher. (Discard the solids.) Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour into a 1-qt. jar and let cool. Cover and refrigerate.
At the Campsite
Build a campfire; set a grill grate on top. Pour the chai into a large saucepan. Reheat on the grill grate. Add some water to the chai if you want a milder flavor.