Indian spiced tea — aka masala chai — has a lovely delicacy and a fortifying strength. We harnessed both qualities for these refreshing milkshakes that should help you get through the muggiest summer afternoon.

Chai tea bags are handy, but we suggest making your own sachet. Simply snag some cheesecloth and a good-quality masala chai — a blend of loose-leaf black tea with whole spices such as cardamom pods, cloves, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon, and dried ginger (one of our favorite blends is from The Chai Cart in San Francisco).

Total time: 20 minutes, plus 2-10 hours steeping time

Makes 4 shakes


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup loose masala chai tied in cheesecloth, or 4 chai tea bags
  • 4 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish


  1. Place 4 tall glasses in the freezer to chill. In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat just until it begins to steam and bubble around the edge.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chai sachet (or tea bags), ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and sugar. Stir briefly to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Cover and set aside to cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or (preferably) overnight.
  4. Pour the steeped chai through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids.
  5. Add the ice cream to a blender, then pour in the cold chai and blend until smooth.
  6. Pour into the chilled glasses, top each with a big dollop of whipped cream, and dust with a little ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.