Chai Spiced Soda
4600 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
Our particular version of this bubbly, spiced concoction was made to order by Martin Ouimet, partner of beloved baker Solveig Tofte at their new eatery/bakery at 46th and Nicollet. The Hot Dish rolled over there to take a sip and see if a non-alcholic soda could make our morning better.
[jump] Sure, the hours at Sun Street are early (6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), and most of you cocktail crawlers barely have one eye open until happy hour starts. Nonetheless, we heard wonders about the biscuits and homemade sodas, so we took a trip to south Minneapolis. The pineapple sounded cute, but we're really more the spicy type, so we ordered up a tall glass of the carbonated chai treat.
Ouimet had a seltzer maker behind the counter, which made us relax, knowing we were getting something fresh and not out of a tap line. He mixed the chai flavors into the seltzer and then handed it over to us. The brown brew was lightly bubbled and served over plenty of ice.
This was one of those experiences where a plain appearance belied great taste. The chai spiced soda was sweet but not cloying, and the tea, cardamom, and other spices could be felt on the tongue and all the way down the throat. We especially loved the absence of milk or a milk substitute that usually comes with chai-flavored drinks. This is a cool, crisp, new-wave way to have your chai and drink it too--which is great for the coming heat of late spring and summer.