View the winners of the 2014 Editors’ Choice Food Awards — Beverages.
CHAI SPICE TEA BLEND
The trick to a great chai is getting the balance of tea and spices–cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper–in exactly the right proportions to make a drink that’s simultaneously warming, sweet, dusky, floral, and a little spicy. Neil Harley traveled throughout India and brewed hundreds of cups of tea before he landed on his own formula. We think he got it right.
Suggested Retail Price: $5 for 2 ounces; $8.75 to $9.25 for 4 ounces
Where to Find It: Whole Foods in Hadley, MA; Cambridge Naturals in Cambridge, MA; Twilight Tea Lounge in Brattleboro, VT; many co-ops around Vermont and Massachusetts; Putney General Store in Putney, VT; online at: chai-wallah.com
VERMONT SWITCHEL COMPANY
Susan Alexander tried her first sip of switchel after marrying a seventh-generation Vermonter and was so taken with the crisp, puckery taste that she formed the Vermont Switchel Company in 2008 to help spread the word. True to the beverage’s 19th-century roots, when it was the leading restorative thirst-quencher among farmers, Alexander uses a century-old recipe that perfectly blends the sweetness of maple syrup with the tang of apple-cider vinegar in a drink that’s both curiously sweet and pleasingly refreshing.
Suggested Retail Price: $4 per 12-ounce bottle
Where to Find It: Select stores throughout New England, listed at: vtswitchel.com