Eddie Wu Spiced Chai and Lemonade is a not a beverage for the faint of heart, which befits it — it’s named for the owner of Cook St. Paul, who has made a name for himself with the likes of spicy Korean pancakes and breakfast nachos. Those who worried (and maybe no one did) that Gray Duck Chai would water down its signature bold flavor when it made the move to bottles must have deemed their fears groundless after drinking this strong, spicy stuff. It’s a mixture of water, cane sugar, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, black tea, cardamom, allspice, star anise, nutmeg, clove, long pepper, and black pepper, and all those ingredients register vividly on the palate.
The effect is something like an Arnie Palmer with a Ph.D. Yes, there’s a tea-meets-lemon-meets-sugar thing going on here, but there are so many other interesting flavors registering as you sip that the essential trio have to struggle a bit to be heard. We bounced this stuff off two tasters and got two reactions: “Amazingly bold … and too much” and “Amazingly bold … this is my new Arnie Palmer, now and forever.”
We picked up our bottle at the Seward Co-op Creamery Cafe, but it’s floating around town in other locations as well. As long as the weather stays summery — and perhaps beyond — this drink is worth seeking out if you like to go for the gusto.