Dessert cocktails are in & this vanilla chai martini takes the cake


Dessert cocktails are a special indulgence. Tequila is not typically in the mix, which psh, needs to change. So, I decided to do just that and develop a tequila dessert cocktail. Yes, I’m brave, and yes, I was successful.

The initial challenge was identifying flavors that complement and elevate the tequila’s flavor while also providing sweet satisfaction. I decided to give chai a try, with Mexican hot chocolate as its counterpart. The combination offers a sweet yet spicy combination for an overall satisfying flavor.


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I tried infusing tequila with a variety of spices synonymous with traditional chai — clove, cinnamon and cardamom pods. While they worked great as solo infusions, they didn’t provide the well-rounded chai experience I was looking for. A traditional chai teabag infusion was also too mellow. Then, I discovered a vanilla chai teabag variety that was the key to success. The vanilla provided a contrast to the savory spices.

When infusing tequila with teas, use teabags, not powders. They infuse quickly, are easy to control, and provide the right balance of ingredients. Plus, they’re much more convenient because they’re already blended.

After you’ve infused your tequila with vanilla chai teabags (learn how to infuse alcohol here), it’s time to tackle the Mexican hot chocolate. The trick is to make it more concentrated by halving the amount of recommended liquid. You can also use a non-dairy milk, if you’d prefer. Make the Mexican hot chocolate in a saucepan as directed on the package, let it cool, and then combine in a blender to ensure the spices and sugar crystals are well dissolved.

Chill the mixture, then add the vanilla chai-infused tequila and heavy cream to complete the cocktail. If you don’t want the heavy cream (and its velvety finish), omit it.

Amp up the presentation by serving this vanilla chai dessert martini with a Mexican hot chocolate mix. If you can’t find the powdered version, simply throw the traditional pucks into a food blender and make it yourself.

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Be warned: This drink is served martini-style, so it’s intended to be a bit boozy and spirit-forward. You can sweeten it up by using a sweetened Mexican chocolate mixture.

Vanilla chai dessert martini

Yield 2 cocktails


For vanilla chai tequila infusion

  • 2–3 vanilla chai teabags
  • 300–350ml blanco tequila

For cocktail

  • 2 1/2 ounces vanilla chai tequila infusion
  • 1 ounce heavy cream or half and half
  • 2 ounces Mexican chocolate drink, prepared with milk of choice
  • Ice
  • Optional: Mexican hot chocolate powder for rim
  • Optional: Ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick for garnish


For vanilla chai tequila infusion

  1. Keep tea in teabags, but cut off string.
  2. Place teabags into jar and fill with tequila.
  3. Let sit in cool, dry place out of direct light.
  4. Infuse for 4–6 hours.
  5. Strain tequila into clean jar.

For cocktail

  1. Prepare Mexican hot chocolate per package instructions, except eliminate half requested liquid. Chill.  
  2. Rim glass with heavy cream, and dip into powdered Mexican chocolate.
  3. In shaker, combine tequila, cream and Mexican chocolate drink. (Stir well before adding to mixer.)
  4. Add a few scoops of ice, put lid on, and shake well for 10 seconds.
  5. Serve in chilled martini glass.


  • For hot version of drink, keep Mexican chocolate drink hot, omit shaker, and combine ingredients in mug.
  • If substituting milk in chocolate drink, use same milk for rimming drink.