Recipe: One Gallon of Spiced Chai Wine

When there’s a chill in the air, I love to soothe myself with a warm cup of tea. I often choose to indulge in a strong, black tea like Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast, but there’s something special about Chai. Not only is it creamy and rich, but the spices that lend themselves to the complex flavor are warming and healing.

It is those herbs most often used in Chai that I considered while hit with a desire to brew something a few months ago. After a quick inventory of the kitchen, I kept coming back to standard Chai spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, anise, ginger. “Chai wine?” I thought. “It’s worth a try!”

Oh my gosh, you all. Am I ever glad that I gave this weird brew a whirl!  It’s a new favorite for me, and I hope you enjoy it, too!


chai wine recipe on

The following recipe and technique assumes that you have the basic equipment and knowledge for how to brew a gallon of wine or mead.

Need help? I have a few great reference books on brewing listed on the Pixie’s Bookshelf, and my own free guide to brewing can be found here.

Spiced Chai Wine

Here’s my basic recipe and technique for one gallon of Chai Wine:

  • 1 gallon of good, clean water (try to use filtered water instead of tap water)
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 packet of yeast (a sweet wine or mead yeast is nice, but even baking yeast works in a pinch!)
  • 2 star anise, whole
  • 1/2 palm of fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 2 English Breakfast tea bags
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

How to make Chai Wine:

1. Boil most of the water in a large pot. Add the chopped ginger, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise. Turn the heat down to medium low.

2. Allow it to simmer while you sanitize your gallon jug, funnel, strainer, and your airlock and bung. (Don’t know what those are? Click here.)

3. Remove the pot from heat and add the tea bags. Cover the pot and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.

4. Remove the tea bags. Pour the sugar into the warm, spiced tea and stir to dissolve.

5. Once the pot is cool enough to handle and the liquid safe to pour, strain the tea into your sanitized carboy and top it off with the rest of the filtered water to the neck. I put one of the cinnamon sticks back into the carboy to infuse while the yeast does its magic.

6. Add the bung and airlock to the jug.

5. When the carboy is cool (a few hours later), sprinkle in half of the packet of yeast and give it a shake. Within a day or two, you’ll notice happy fermentation. (Here’s a video of what fermentation looks like!) the jug should be bubbling happily. It should be happy to sit and bubble for a month or so.

6. When the bubbles stop and the liquid is clear, it is time to bottle your brew!

This golden-brown brew was so delicious, dry, and spiced, that I did not need to add any sugar syrup at bottling. I’m sure it will age into something special, but it is pretty tasty even young as it is!

The next time that I make this brew, I think that I will add a bit of molasses to give it a bit more body, or perhaps add some fresh pumpkin to the boil to truly make an autumnal beverage.

Oh, and I can’t wait to try it mulled!

slainte! cheers! from (spiced chai wine recipe)


  1. Started a five gallon batch today and added just a bit of molasses. Hoping I didn’t overdo the ginger but looking forward to seeing how it develops!

  2. How long do you leave it in the bottle before trying some?
    Thinking this sounds like a good project to start this weekend.

  3. Pixie, your my new favorite!!!! I’m SUPER excited to try this wine. I may make a couple of subtle variations. Thank you for your inspirational recipes. I adore what I call “Wonkey Wines” They always give such wonderful and surprising results!
    Blessing 🙂

  4. Can you make this with honey to make a metheglin instead of sugar? I am on a mead binge in the next few weeks as we have 10 kg of honey to use (oh the possibilities!)


    1. Sure! I switch between sugar and honey in many of my recipes. My basic measurements for a gallon are 2-3 pounds of honey for mead, or 3-4 cups of sugar for wine.

      Wow, so much honey! 😀 That sounds great!!

  5. Looks amazing. I’m curious, have you added milk to the finished chai wine in a glass? It might taste exactly like a delicious milky chai from the tea stall’s of India?

    1. Good question! I would assume that some of the caffeine would transfer. I bet decaf tea would work just fine! It should mess with the flavor at all. The tannins in the tea are still present in the decaf, tannins and the flavor are the main part we want!


  6. Just recently bottled my first batch of a jaom and a raspberry varient jaom and decided to try a little more difficult recipe. I have a small question though, I have most everything for the chai wine except I have ground ginger instead of fresh root, and I have a small container of star anise seeds. Would these substitute properly for the recipe or should I hold off and aquire the proper ingredients?

    1. I bet that would be delicious! You make it how you like it, that’s the basic rule! I haven’t done many ground herbs in my meads, so I’m not sure how much dried ginger to substitute for the fresh. I often just make up the recipes from what I have on hand. Have fun with it! Cheers!

      1. Thanks. And I misread the container it’s just anise seeds. They both smell bit like licorice so it should still work

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