It’s always fun to go out on the town and have food or drink that you don’t necessarily have at home. That is what makes an outing so special. But what if you could bring some of that magic home and treat yourself with that fancy drink? With spirited drinks upwards of $10 and coffee shop drinks for a five spot, you can have a significant cost savings and maybe even find some new favorites along the way.
A chocolate martini is a good place to start and it is relatively easy to make. In fact, there are only a few ingredients. But, let’s face it-a martini isn’t a martini unless you have the traditional glassware and a bonafide shaker to mix your drink. While you can find variant recipes on the internet, most have the base of an equal amount of vodka, chocolate liquor and crème de cocao. Ingredients are placed in a shaker with ice and with a vigorous shake of 15-30 seconds, and you’re ready to pour into a prepared glass and add a chocolate garnish.
Part of the appeal of a specialty drink is the presentation. A chocolate martini may be decorated with a chocolate rim or topped with chocolate curls. Once you’ve produced a few chocolate martinis, you might consider branching out to other specialty chocolate drinks, both spirited and nonalcoholic. Drinks aren’t limited to cold drinks as there are many variations of the classic hot chocolate. The remainder of this article will suggest such drinks as well as presentation ideas.
If you’re like me, chocolate runs in your veins. I sometimes quip I should just be hooked up to a chocolate IV. Lucky for us, in addition to our favorite bars, we can enjoy chocolate in liquid form just by preparing a few drinks with a chocolate base. Always willing to experiment, I have discovered drinks that hit the spot as well as miss the boat. Now more than ever, there are so many choices and ingredients available for us to experiment with at home and to call our own.
How Can I Make Chocolate Drinks From the Bar?
With so many chocolate based liquors and liqueurs on the market, the combination of drinks is endless. If you have the time to visit a mega mart spirit shop, you will be overwhelmed by the number of chocolate based liquor choices. And it’s not just traditional chocolate liquors available as there are white chocolate creams, and even chocolate bitters. Depending on your taste and budget, you will find several bases to choose from. For instance, there are chocolate inspired vodka, tequila and whiskey liquors.
In general, chocolate inspired liquor is used in a clean drink, most likely “on the rocks”, while a chocolate inspired liqueur, with added sweetness, creaminess, and thickness lends itself to an after meal treat, or dessert. Also, a liqueur often has added complimentary flavors such as orange, cherry, or mint. At the end of the day, it is your tastes, and your preferences plus the occasion which determines the best drink for you.
To make drinks at home, you just need a few key ingredients as well as some basic equipment. To mix your drinks, you need a blender and a shaker. Let’s face it, a shaker is a lot of fun and makes you look legit. It not only mixes your drink, but cools it and slightly dilutes it. A blender however, will add air and foam, and also pulverize any ice, fruit or other ingredients that are added. Although you could use measuring spoons and cups, a jigger or set of shot glasses are handy and of course ups your “cool” factor. It doesn’t hurt to have an assortment of straws, picks, stirrers and cocktail napkins at hand. Lastly, a collection of general or specific glassware is recommended. Recipes are readily available with a click of the keyboard but to get you curious consider the following suggestions:
• White Chocolate Martini
• Death by Chocolate Boozy Milkshake
• Grasshopper Cocktail
• Chocolate Margarita
• Bay Hill Hummer
• Friar & Tuck
How Can I Make Mocktails From the Bar?
For many years, we simply asked our bartender to make our drink “virgin” but the current term used for nonalcoholic drinks is mocktails. Nonalcoholic booze has become extremely popular in the last few years. And there doesn’t seem to be a slowdown as sales of mocktails has soared over the last couple of years. Mocktails aren’t just a cocktail with the alcohol left out, but many are made with no-proof spirits. Like typical bar drinks, the equipment and accessories needed are the same. If you are making a mocktail for children, you might select a recipe that doesn’t imitate the taste of alcohol. Circling back to our chocolate martini, you can make a mocktail with milk, chocolate syrup (see chocolate syrup article) a splash of corn syrup, and some ice.
How Can I Make Other Chocolate Inspired Drinks?
Many of us have fallen into the “hot chocolate” packet routine where we microwave a mug of water, rip open an envelope and call it a day. Although there are some delicious options available, there’s nothing quite like a homemade cuppa. Many homemade recipes call for cocoa powder with accompanying powdered milk and confectioner’s sugar-ingredients that most people have on hand. However, you can also make a mean hot chocolate with a chocolate bar/chips and some milk or half and half. Of course there are additional add-ins, such as caramel syrup, mint flavoring, and white chocolate that can transform your hot chocolate.
Prefer a cold drink instead? The same hot chocolate can be made into frozen hot chocolate, The recipe is the same except you are adding ice cubes to the party. A sturdy blender is a must for getting the ice cubes crushed small enough to be able to sip through a straw. You can make it particularly rich by starting with chocolate milk as a base, Your drink will be icy in texture rather than creamy like a smoothie or milkshake. If you are looking for that smoother texture, then a milkshake with an ice cream base might hit the spot. The most basic milkshake is a mixture of ice cream and, well, milk. You can start with chocolate ice cream or use vanilla and add chocolate sauce to the blender. Lastly, for those interested in a healthier alternative with a twang, you can make a chocolate smoothie with yogurt as the base. Since no major company produces chocolate yogurt, you will need to add cocoa powder to a vanilla based yogurt, or plain yogurt with the addition of a sweetener such as sugar or sugar alternative. The use of Greek yogurt and a few ice cubes will help thicken your smoothie.
How Should I Serve My Drinks?
Everyone knows that a glass of milk tastes better in a fancy glass. Imagine that the milk is chocolate flavored and is topped with a swirl of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate curls. Or, if chocolate syrup is swirled on the inside of a transparent cup or glass before it is filled with your favorite drink. Probably the most iconic presentation of a chocolate-inspired drink involves dipping the rim of the glass in a small amount of melted chocolate and then rolled in chocolate sprinkles-perfect for our earlier chocolate martini. An elongated chocolate curl (see article on how to make them) can serve not only as a garnish, but also function as a temporary straw. A chocolate dipped strawberry (see art on how to make them) can perch on the side of a glass. If you are serving a hot drink, dip a spoon in melted chocolate and decorate it with sprinkles or mini marshmallows and serve it alongside your mug. Cocoa powder can be sifted into or atop a drink for a subtle look but dramatic zing on the tastebuds..
With so many choices available, there is no reason why you can’t have your chocolate and drink it too. Making a chocolate inspired drink allows for experimentation and customization. For example, a chocolate milkshake can be made more festive by adding a splash of hazelnut liquer. Adding chocolate to whipped cream can elevate the presentation of almost any drink. Many drinks do not call for precise measurements so let the creative juices (too bad there’s not a chocolate juice….) flow and break out the assorted glassware. Cheers!
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore