by SuSu, MaceVindaloo
For the Tams, the smell was nostalgic and smelled of home a place where they could no longer go. For the rest of the crew, the smell was exotic and expensive, a luxury their families could not have afforded often. Anti-elitists like Mal might have cursed Inara for perfuming his ship, if he hadn't been (not so secretly) in love with her, and would hover about, waiting for an invitation to join in a cup of cha'i. Of course, the whole crew would be there too with mugs in hand, hoping for the same.
Inara would always brew enough for everyone; in fact, she took to making a "base" and heating it up with hot milk to serve. She could always make another cup. She knew enough to make plenty, or there'd be cussin' for sure ... like that first time she made it, and Jayne didn't get any (he was late getting to the kitchen) and he hollered out, "Gorram it, gimme some gorram cha'i!" He chased everyone around to salvage his share, amidst hilarity and general good feelings. And so it became the name of this recipe.
Strain the hot liquid through a fine-meshed sieve, or through a couple of layers of cheesecloth. While hot, add the honey, stirring till it dissolved completely. You can jar or bottle this base and store it in the refrigerator. Or go on with the recipe.
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