Licorice Chai Tea

A naturally sweet and spicy adaptogenic elixir!
Cinnamon, cardamom, anise, sugar, black tea over dark texture background
© Can Stock Photo / natashabreen

This is the perfect aromatic tea to warm body and soul on a chilly day. Classic chai tea is chock-full of delicious warming spices that aid in increased circulation and digestion, are anti-inflammatory, and help balance blood sugar.

This recipe is a delicious twist on the original: instead of black tea, the tasty base features sweet licorice root, a caffeine-free adaptogen. Nourishing and invigorating for depleted and deficient energy and immune systems, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is an adrenal and immune support superstar. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, licorice root is also a key herb during cold and flu season, helping to soothe the mucosa of the throat and digestive tract. 

Bonus – licorice root also provides natural sweetness, which means you won’t need any added sweetener, as sugars are stimulants that should be reduced when our immune system is challenged by seasonal changes. My prescription for this time of year: on a day that seems dull or grey, try simmering a batch of this spicy elixir and fill your kitchen with an incredible aroma. Brew up a latte that will not only delight your taste buds but will also nourish your body!

Licorice Chai Tea


  • 4 cinnamon sticks

  • 8 cardamom pods, cracked open

  • 1 tsp whole cloves

  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, cut into coins

  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

  • 5 c filtered water

  • 3 Tbsp licorice root

  • 1/2 c milk (dairy or alternative)  

  • Measure out licorice root and set aside for later.


  1. In a medium pot, add all spices and the vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract, set aside until the very end).

  2. Add 5 c of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes.

  3. Add licorice root and let simmer another 15 minutes.

  4. Strain herbs and spices with a wire strainer. Place strained materials into a cheesecloth and give a good squeeze over the pot to get every last delicious drop! 

  5. Add vanilla extract (if using).

  6. Allow to cool, pour into a jar and keep in the fridge until ready to use. You now have a delicious chai concentrate that can be mixed on demand!           

For each serving

  1. Warm ½ cup chai concentrate with ½ cup milk (dairy or alternative) in a small pot.

  2. Add honey or sweetener to taste if you’d like the drink a bit sweeter.

  3. To garnish, sprinkle with some ground cinnamon or toss a cinnamon stick into each cup!

TIP: For a fancy touch, warm and foam the milk separately. If you don’t have a foaming device, a coffee press will do the trick and almond milk will foam nicely with just a whisk!