The SOMM Journal

August/September 2014

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Page 78 of 119

{ }  79 TEA EVOKES IMAGES OF EXOTIC LANDS WHERE THE AIR IS FILLED with spices. Rum, too, is exciting, mysterious and adventurous. It would take a tea impresario to invent a combination of the two ingredients—and change the way the world drinks them both. Kiran Shiva Akal knows tea. Originally from Trinidad and a member of a family who owns a luxury goods import business, he began his love affair with tea when he was 14. Raised in England and Ireland, he had the oppor - tunity to drink some of the best teas in the world. As his interest grew, he traveled east to India where he increased his knowledge and appreciation for exotic, perfumed blends of tea. His inspiration for Chai Rum is rooted in a family memory. "On a visit home on Christmas morning three years ago, my sister and I sat drinking tea in Trinidad when she convinced us to change the family business, SMAKS Luxury Group [a name derived using the first initials of { spirits } An Adventure of Discovery Kiran Akal embraces the Miami style as The Setai's masterful mixologist Philip Khandehrish cooks up a batch of the Setai Chai cocktail. The supplemental ingredients in the Setai Chai are as exotic as main ingredient itself: Chai Rum. IT TOOK A TEA EXPERT TO INVENT CHAI RUM by Kelly Merritt / photos by Vanessa Rogers

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