Category Archives: Drinks and Mixology

Chocolate Cocktails Made with Real Cacao

Hot Chocolate de Caraibe

Hot Chocolate de Caraibe

I’m talking about using cacao-infused vodka to make some unique, if not quirky, cocktails that will delight and mystify your taste buds.  Last winter I showed you a simple recipe to infuse vodka with roasted cacao nibs, the meat of the cocoa bean before it’s turned into chocolate.  You can easily mix that vodka up into a fine organic chocolate martini, but honestly, that drink will probably only appeal to the most die-hard chocolate fans like me – with its dryiness and authentic, raw cacao flavor.  Once you’ve experimented with that one, it’s time to explore these other chocolate libations.

I wanted to give you a few more ideas that blend real cacao-infused vodka with with well-matched ingredients so that the vodka becomes an accent rather than center stage.  The results of this alchemy are drinks that will warm your spirit through the winter.  After that dry chocolate martini, let’s move on to a few sweeter drinks and then finally back to something more crisp.

Hot Chocolate de Caraibe


  • 1 oz cacao infused vodka (see basic recipe or short version at bottom of page)
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 6oz hot chocolate. Use a high quality cocoa such as Dagoba, Grenada Chocolate Company’s or Rapunzel (all are certified organic.  None are alkalized [2]).  Use sweetened cocoa or sweeten to taste.
  • 1 tbs chocolate shavings (we like to use Grenada Chocolate Chocolate Company’s 60% cacao bar).
  • Whipped Cream

Stir ingredients in a clear mug.  Top with a blast of whipped cream then garnish with chocolate shavings. Sit back, sip and dream of a warm Caribbean breeze blowing through cacao trees.

Kir Cacao
Kir Cacao

Kir Cacao

A Blend of Champagne, Chocolate and Cherry

Use this drink as an aperitif or “surprise beginning” to any festivity that goes beyond predictable.
  • 1/2 oz cacao-infused vodka (see basic recipe or short version at bottom of page)
  • 1 oz cherry liqueur. We used Heering Cherry Liqueur since it’s made completely from all natural ingredients.
  • Champagne
  • Ice

Pour the  vodka and cherry liqueur into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.   Pour into a champagne flute without the ice, of course.  Fill the rest of the glass with champagne up to 1-2″ from the top of the rim.  Add one more inch or so  by pouring the champagne over the back of spoon and into the glass to make some foam.  This drink will grow on you…trust me.


This one is a slightly less potent twist on the mochachino martini I made last time.   Stir together over ice in a tumber:

  • 1  oz. organic cacao-infused vodka (see basic recipe or short version at bottom of page)
  • 1/2 oz. Kahlua
  • 1 1/2 oz. Bailey’s


Traditional rum egg nog is great, but when you’re tired of the same old same old then move onto this smooth concoction.  Sipping egg nog is sort of like drinking ice cream, so it’s not such a stretch to top it off with a bit of coffee and chocolate. Yum!

  • 1/2  oz. organic cacao-infused vodka (see basic recipe or short version at bottom of page)
  • 1 oz. Coffee Liqueur such as Kahlua
  • 4 oz. egg nog
  • Nutmeg

Mix together with ice and garnish with freshly ground nutmeg.


If you want something a little drier, but not completely arid, try this:

  • 1/2  oz. organic cacao-infused vodka (see basic recipe or short version at bottom of page)
  • 1 1/2 oz. Scotch Whiskey
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • Orange peel

Mix liquids in a tumbler over ice.  Rub the orange peel all around the rim of the glass to give fragrant orange aroma.  Sip slowly.



Here’s the short verisoin of the basic recipe:  Combine 1 cup  roasted cacao nibs with 1 liter of vodka (remove enough vodka to fit the nibs into the bottle.  Let it infuse for 2-4 days, then strain.  For the details, see this post.

Please drink responsibly and in moderation so you can always enjoy fine drinks.  Cheers!


[1] I paid for all the materials used for this post myself.

[2] Alkalized or dutched cocoa has been chemically converted to make it easier to mix and more mild in flavor.  Besides my general aversion to unnecessary chemicals, we don’t want mild flavor, we want to taste the chocolate!

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How to Make a Fine Organic Chocolate Martini

The 100% Organic Chocolate Martini

The 100% Organic Chocolate Martini. Cheers!

As we get ready for New Years, I decided to prepare a unique concoction – a chocolate martini.  Well, not just a chocolate martini, but one made from 100% organic ingredients.  There are plenty of chocolate martini’s out there, but most are made with some sweet liqueur such as Creme de Cacao or Godiva Chocolate Liqueur.  I have nothing against these drinks, but they are really more of a cocktail than a martini.  A martini is inherently dry (and technically made from Gin, but we’re in the vodka camp here).  So, how do you to make a chocolate martini that’s essentially void of sugar?  It’s not hard, but will take a little preparation.  Start about 3 days or more before New Years.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A bottle of high-quality organic vodka
  • 1/2 cup organic cacao nibs
  • A large clean bowl
  • A funnel (not pictured)
  • A cocktail shaker
  • A cocktail strainer
  • Some cheesecloth (not pictured)
  • A sieve
  • Organic cocoa powder for rimming (optional)
  • Organic chocolate to shave as a garnish (recommended)
What you'll need

What you'll need to make an organic vodka martini. (L to R): cocktail strainer, cocktain shaker, organic vodka, jigger, metal sieve, large clean bowl, and organic cacao nibs

I used Crop Organic Artisanal Vodka simply because it was on sale ($25 before discount for 750mL). By itself it tastes clean up front with a smooth, round buttered-corn note on the finish.  I’m not an expert on vodka, but this one seemed well above average.   Other organic vodkas include Rain Vodka, Vodka 14Organic Nation ON Vodka and TRU Vodka.  Some might dispute the value of organic vodka[1], but many of these companies are also employing green business practices and organic farming is generally better for the earth.  That’s enough to sway me.

Cacao nibs

Organic Cocoa Nibs Ready to Add to Vodka

For cacao nibs, I used Taza organic roasted nibs.   Taza Chocolate roasts their nibs “low and slow” to preserve the natural fruity flavor of the bean.  After using them for this recipe, I was delighted to find plenty left over in the can to mix into oatmeal or over ice cream.  By the way, don’t use chocolate-coated nibs.  They are great as a snack, but won’t work for this recipe.

Thirty hours into the extraction the organic vodka is turning a reddish amber.

Thirty hours into the extraction the organic vodka is turning a reddish amber.

Now, simply pour out about a half cup of vodka from the bottle and replace it with a half cup of nibs.  If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll realize quickly that the half cup of vodka that you poured out of the bottle now has no home.  I sat and thought about this for a while until I started sipping away at it, still trying to find a solution to this storage problem, but coming up dry.  Oh well, if you all have some ideas, please post it in the comments section.  Now, back to the recipe.  Let the mixture steep for 2-4 days shaking the bottle lightly once per day.  I extracted the nibs for three days, but I believe two days should be adequate and after four days, you are probably reachng the point of diminishing returns.  I tasted the nibs that came out of the bottle on Day 3, and they were almost tasteless with little left to give.

After three days, the vodka is a deeper red and ready to filter.

After three days, the vodka is a deeper red and ready to filter.

After three days, filter out the nibs by pouring the contents of the bottle through some cheese cloth placed inside a metal sieve.  Collect the vodka in a very clean bowl.  After rinsing out the bottle, return the contents to the bottle using a funnel.  Now you will have some 100% organic chocolate vodka ready to mix.  Mine turned out a nice amber-red color, but it will depend upon the nibs you use and how long they are extracted.

The 100% Organic Chocolate Martini

OK, here’s the easy part.  Lightly wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with water and run it through a pile of organic cocoa.  I found it hard to get a nice uniform cocoa line on the rim, but decided I didn’t care.  Shake the organic chocolate vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice until the outside feels super-cold.  Strain into the glass and take a sip.  Wait! Get any thoughts of sweetness out of your head before you raise the glass to your lips!  This is a real dry martini and the chocolate flavor, really be more accurately described as a cocoa flavor, is an aquired taste.  Unique, aromatic, somewhat pungent. Give it a few slow sips before passing judgement.  If you still crave some sweetness, try this variation:

Orange Chocolate Martini:

The orange chocolate martini garnished with shaved organic chocolate

The orange chocolate martini garnished with shaved organic chocolate

  • 2 oz. organic chocolate vodka (follow recipe above)
  • 1/2 oz orange liqueur such as Cointreau.  No more than 1/2 and ounce or you will overwhelm the cocoa.

I don’t know of any organic orange liquers, but if you do, let us know.  Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker until the outside of the shaker is super-cold.  Garnish with shavings of organic chocolate.  I recommend going to the extreme of 100% raw chocolate from Pacari.  A sweeter option would be Grenada Chocolate company’s 71% cacao bar.  You can use a cheese grater to create the shavings, but don’t use a micro-zester.

From here let your creativity run away.  If you want to go sweeter with the orange, OK, but keep in mind the chocolate flavor will start to get lost.  What’s nice is the contrast of chocolate shavings agaist white, so you can try:

Mochachino Martini

  • 1 1/2 oz. organic chocolate vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Kahlua
  • 1 oz. Bailey’s

Mocha Martini

  • Same as above, but with no Bailey’s

Where to buy the ingredients:

  • Organic vodka – Rain and Crop are available nationally.  The others maybe too, but I have not seen them as abundantly in my area.
  • Taza organic roasted cacao nibs at NewLeaf Chocolates. – click here.

Cheers and happy holidays!

For more drink recipes using cacao-infused vodka, see this new post.

Notes:  [1]Some people doubt the value of “organic” when it comes to vodka since producers are simply starting with organic grain and, in the end, it might just be a marketing ploy.  I have to admit that I have not researched this technically at all, but my simple assessment is that if there are residual pesticides in the grain or potatoes and they are volatile enough, then there is no reason why traces can’t make it through the whole process all the way past distillation and into the bottle.  Arguably, distillation is a purification process and other steps are taken to purify vodka, but it doesn’t mean that all the bad stuff is gone. You might consider vodka to be bad stuff too, so let’s put it all in context.  After all, if you drink too much vodka, too often, then you will have bigger problems than potential traces of pesticides.

Furthermore, if you focus only on the health issues for the consumer, you’re missing the full picture.  Pesticides and other chemicals can be harmful for the environment and for the farm workers who apply them to the fields.  For me, this is the strongest case for organic vodka.   I made an organic vodka martini because I thought it would be fun, but I don’t know if it’s any better for my health than good old fashioned vodka.  Either way, please drink responsibly.

[2] I paid for all ingredients myself.