Put Some Chocolate in Your Cocktails

Be it bitters, liqueur, or real melted chocolate, booze loves a hint of the dark stuff

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.

Sidney Poitier

Chocolate Manhattan
The Bahamian film star would be proud to have inspired this combination of Maker's Mark bourbon, sweet vermouth and Aztec chocolate bitters.Todd Coleman

U.S.S. Wondrich

U.S.S. Wondrich
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.Matt Taylor-Gross

Bittersweet Hot Chocolate with Red Wine

Bittersweet Hot Chocolate with Red Wine
We love nibbling dark chocolate alongside a glass of red wine; the two flavors combined in a warming hot chocolate is an unexpected treat.Maxime Iattoni

Le Mexique

Mango Ginger Margarita
This tequila cocktail gets spicy sweetness from ginger liqueur and fruit-forward body from mango purée.Laura Sant

The Sabbath

The Sabbath Cocktail
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.Matt Taylor-Gross

Pink Squirrel

Pink Squirrel
This rose-hued variation on a grasshopper—the classic boozy chocolate–mint milkshake—trades crème de menthe for almond-flavored crème de noya.Michael Kraus

Tequila Boulevardier

Tequila Boulevardier
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.Anna Stockwell

Zelma's Punch

Zelma's Punch
This heady tropical cocktail gets its earthy undertones from creme de cacao.Todd Coleman

Hyperion

Hyperion
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.Matt Taylor-Gross

Venezuelan Chocolate-Rum Drink

Venezuelan Chocolate Rum Drink
For when you can't decide between a boozy nightcap or a creamy hot chocolate.Matt Taylor-Gross

Twentieth Century Cocktail

Twentieth Century Cocktail
This 1937 British cocktail strikes an unexpected balance between velvety creme de cacao and refreshing gin, lemon juice, and Lillet.Maxime Iattoni

Cacao Fruit Cocktail

Cacao Fruit Cocktail
Puréed cacao pulp meets cachaça in this unexpected sipper. Tart lemon provides a burst of freshness, while a splash of sparkling wine adds lift.Maxime Iattoni

The Trophy Wall

The Trophy Wall
The sharp herbal finish provided by Fernet Branca balances the richness of this cream drink.Anna Stockwell

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini
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.Ingalls Photography

Pine Cone Cocktail

Chocolate Almond Cocktail
This dessert cocktail marries the flavors of chocolate and almonds in a creamy drink, dusted with an intoxicating wiff of nutmeg.Andre Baranowski

Black Forest Manhattan

Black Forest Manhattan
This sweet whisky-based cocktail is the alcoholic equivalent of a chocolate-covered cherry.Anna Stockwell