Gone are the days when mixing chocolate and spirits only meant a boozy milkshake or treacly chocotini; there’s no reason a good chocolate and good alcohol can’t come together for a great cocktail.
There are four main ways to an alcoholic beverage with the irresistible allure of chocolate:
1 Liqueur: Long a component of tiki- and dessert-inspired cocktails, crème de cacao is an oft maligned staple in many bars. But, with the right handling and smart compliments, modern bartenders are finding it can provide an unmatchably velvety texture and wonderful earthy aroma. Used as an accent to Scotch or cachaça, crème de cacao adds a backbone reminiscent of childhood, but in a distinctly adult form.
2 Bitters: There are now literally hundreds of varieties of cocktail bitters readily available. Chocolate bitters even come in more than one form (i.e. Aztec, mole, etc.). Think of bitters as a kind of seasoning, something to provide balance while enhancing the cocktail’s primary flavors. Chocolate bitters are especially good for adding richness and mouthwatering aroma to a drink.
3 Cocoa Powder: An essential component in boozy hot chocolate, cocoa powder can also be used as a garnish to add aroma.
4 Real, Actual Chocolate: Melt it down and stir it in, shave it on top, or just nibble it alongside any of these chocolate sippers.
French Kiss Cocktail
New York bartender Mandy Cohen combines cognac, Chambord, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Liqueur, and a splash of lambrusco to make the rich and sultry French Kiss cocktail. Get the recipe for French Kiss Cocktail » Mandy Cohen
Nocino Old Fashioned
This tiki-inspired drink is based on the Adonis, a pre-prohibition recipe that is equal parts sherry and vermouth, with a balancing dash of bitters. Get the recipe for U.S.S. Wondrich » Matt Taylor-Gross
The name of this cocktail—a cross between a White Russian and a Thai iced coffee—is a joking nod to John Goodman’s character in the film the Big Lebowski. Get the recipe for The Sabbath » Matt Taylor-Gross
This rose-hued variation on a grasshopper—the classic boozy chocolate–mint milkshake—trades crème de menthe for almond-flavored crème de noya. Get the recipe for Pink Squirrel » Michael Kraus
Bitter liqueurs and a touch of sweet vermouth bring balance to grassy, briny tequila in this riff on the classic bourbon drink, adapted from a recipe by bartender Mark Drew. Get the recipe for Tequila Boulevardier » Anna Stockwell
This riff on the classic cocktail the Titan (scotch, dry vermouth, apricot liqueur, white crème de cacao, orange bitters) swaps out vermouth for the fruitier Bolivian spirit singani. Get the recipe for Hyperion » Matt Taylor-Gross
Venezuelan Chocolate-Rum Drink
Twentieth Century Cocktail
Cacao Fruit Cocktail
The Trophy Wall
Vodka, coffee, coffee liqueur, and cream are mixed with vanilla liqueur in this cocktail, which sits somewhere between a classic espresso martini and a White Russian. Get the recipe for Espresso Martini » Ingalls Photography
Pine Cone Cocktail
Black Forest Manhattan