This is an ancient Michigan Tech elixir for keeping warm when you have to spend all day outside. You can get everything you need at the local co-op.
1 quart of water
1 rounded tsp cloves
1 rounded tsp peppercorns
1/2 to 1 full stick cinnamon
A fair sized chunk of ginger (about thumb sized)
2 rounded tsp. peppermint
Maple syrup (REAL maple syrup!) or agave syrup
Crack the cinnamon into chunks with a hammer. Simmer cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns in the water for about ten minutes. Thinly slice ginger and add it in. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, add peppermint. Steep for 5-10 minutes.
Strain out everything, return to pan, add milk and syrup to taste. You will probably have to add around half a cup to a full cup of milk, but add as much as you like. Real maple syrup is the traditional flavoring, but agave syrup will do in a pinch.
Put in a thermos and drink for as long as you are outside. It will keep you nice and warm. It's also absolutely wonderful when you are sick. The cinnamon really helps with throat problems.
Alternate directions: do not strain. Let cool, put in fridge overnight, and strain in the morning. It will be much stronger and more bitter. You will have to add more milk and syrup, to counteract the bitterness, but the final product is a little heartier.
Alternate alternate directions: Crack 1 rounded tsp cardamom pods, put them in with the cloves and peppercorns. Do not add ginger. Instead of mint tea, steep 2-4 tsp black tea for the recommended time for your particular tea. Strain, add milk and syrup as above. Now you have chai!