New Alberta-made liqueur celebrates a family recipe
By Steven Sandor | October 19, 2023
Faaiza Ramji finds it kind of funny that, when most North Americans think of chai, they think of the flavours that they find at Starbucks or other major coffee and tea chains. Basically, these chains, rather than the South Asian community from which it comes, have defined chai for us.
“It’s amazing that North Americans tell Asians what chai is,” she laughs.
Ramji is the co-owner of Field Notes, the distillery she co-owns with Southern Alberta farmer Lindsey Good. In 2021, Field Notes burst onto the scene with its Sweet Pea Amaro. Over the next couple of weeks, some of the first 500 bottles of its Jaya Chai Liqueur will hit store shelves in Alberta.
For Ramji, the Jaya Chai Liqueur comes from a deeply personal source. She says that many families have their own chai recipes, and this product honours the flavours with which she grew up. There’s cardamom and cloves, assam tea and Alberta beet sugar for sweetness. And the liquor is distilled from southern Alberta oats.
“Every South Asian household drinks their own version of chai,” she says. “Everyone has their own way of blending spices.”
While chai has many different variations, the mix of cardamom and cloves is familiar to many — and she expects that the chai liqueur will be more accessible to drinkers than the Sweet Pea Amaro.
“The flavour profile of chai is known, while with the amaro you need a couple of layers of education.”
It should make for a great mix. Try it with bourbon and orange bitters to add a twist to the Old Fashioned. Just add milk to make a cream drink. Really, it can be used wherever you might use a coffee liqueur. But, before mixing, try it neat, so you get a feel for the flavours.
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