Autumn Spiced Milk

It’s hard to tell it’s Autumn where I live. Even though all I can see from my windows are trees most of them are still mostly clothed in green. Drifts of golden fallen leaves are not allowed to accumulate due to the daily round of leaf blowing by the small army of gardeners/groundskeepers. The much larger army of squirrels and chipmunks gather up any fallen nut and seeds and pine cones even faster than the leaf blowers leaving the “protected nature habitat” we live in look strangely antiseptic. Over the last weekend I did all my chores and shopping in a long cotton skirt and sandals complaining about the humidity.
In fact I’ve been here for 3 years now, and the only reliable way to tell it’s autumn in Georgia is the annual Pumpkin spice infestation that sweeps over the nation at this time of year. Some of the symptoms of this troubling phenomenon are as following.
Everything has a orange, brown and gold label on it and the original product you were looking for now has a speckled brown appearance or if you are very unlucky a violent orange hue. This can affect any product at random cheesecake, over-sweetened milky “coffee” drinks, all kinds of baked goods, Cream cheese, Candles, pancakes. I’m clearly not the only brit bemused by this creepy state of affairs.


As you can tell I don’t really do “pumpkin spice” which is basically a truck load of cinnamon with a sprinkling of other random spices you can’t taste under the onslaught of the cinnamon. I have however bowed to seasonal pressure and made a spiced syrup I use in hot milk.

Spiced Syrup

1 litre of water
3 inches of fresh ginger sliced into coins
3 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
1 TBSP pink peppercorns
1 tsp black peppercorns
60 Cardamom pods
20 Cloves
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp nutmeg
zest of one orange
175g Demerara Sugar
1 TBSP molasses
2 TBSP vanilla extract
1TBSP Lemon juice

Notes and substitutions – You can make this into a chai masala syrup by steeping tea after you’ve infused the spices. You can use honey instead of sugar. I like mine very sweet so you might need to cut the sugar down if your tooth isn’t as sweet as mine
The whole thing is really guidey anyway add everything to your taste and fiddle with it until you find the blend that makes you happy.

Place the water and all the ingredients from ginger to orange zest in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to simmer for 20 mins.
Remove from the heat (if you are planning on making chai now is the time to steep your black tea. 10-12 teabags for 7-8 minutes) and strain the whole mixture through a sieve into a large bowl.
Add the sugar and molasses and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Serve it 50/50 with hot milk.
It keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge in an airtight container. Or you can freeze it in single portion sizes.


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