With so many chocolates this festive season, I wondered how it would be to put these to use with liquor. That's when I discovered the whole new world of chocolate-infused cocktails.
Typically, chocolate has been used in drinks that resemble alcoholic Fudgsicles -mixtures of liqueurs, milk or cream and wellconcealed shots of vodka or light rum that are sweet enough to appeal to first time drinkers or beginners. Nah! That's not what I mean. Even as they harness chocolate's bitter and savoury notes, bartenders are proceeding cautiously. Bartenders tell me that the chocolate must never overpower the spirit. Rum, whisky, vodka are their favourites with chocolate.
Aged spirits are the safest and best bet with chocolate. With the woody, oaky and vanilla notes that they imbibe, obviously chocolate blends perfectly. Many strongly recommend bitter or dark chocolate for cocktails.
Hitesh Keswani, director of Copa, Mumbai, told me, that chocolate by itself is rich, sweet, with bitter notes -all of which are elements of great cocktails. He added, “When pairing spirits with chocolate, keep the cocktails very simple, allowing the lingering notes of chocolate on your palate and letting the punch of the spirit come through. Vodka is the best spirit. A bourbon adds to the sweetness of chocolate, making for a well rounded aftertaste. White chocolate and spiced rum makes for a great pairing, with the hot sweetness of the rum playing perfectly with the richness of white chocolate."
But what really caught my fancy is how the bartenders at the celebrated London restaurant Coq D'Argent, use of a frothy white chocolate mousse foam with Belaire Rosé, a new sparkling wine brand from Provence to create a unique cocktail. The chocolate in this drink is complemented by the Yellow Chartreuse which is an aromatic liqueur made from a mixture of over 100 herbs with a smooth honey base. The aromatic nature of the drink is also heightened by a grating of nutmeg.
Author Mini Ribeiro is a food writer....