This one’s for the chocolate-lover in your life. This cacao-and-vanilla-infused vodka comes together easily and quickly (three days) and can stand in anywhere Crème de Cacao is traditionally used (a Brandy Alexander, perhaps?). It’s a lovely addition to any drink whose flavors are enhanced by chocolate (coffee, banana, and caramel). Bottle it up for a unique holiday gift, or mix it into eggnog at your holiday gatherings.
As unadorned and sublime as a Hershey bar, this transparent, barely tinted liqueur is the disembodied spirit of roasted cocoa. The alcohol absorbs all of the nuanced chocolate flavor from cacao nibs (cracked roasted cocoa beans). Amended with the fragrance of real vanilla and sugared to bittersweetness, this is an all-purpose chocolate liqueur, great in Chocolate Martinis.
|Stir Coco-Loco into a warm coffee drink spiced with cinnamon.|
Makes about 1 quart
1 fifth (750 ml/3¼ cups) vodka (80–100 proof)
1½ cups (6 ounces) cacao nibs
1 vanilla bean (Madagascar or Bourbon), split
1¼ cups Simple Syrup (see below)
- Combine the vodka, cacao nibs, and vanilla in a half-gallon jar. Stir to moisten everything.
- Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid tastes strongly of chocolate, 3 to 5 days.
- Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more liquid.
- Stir in the simple syrup.
- Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within 1 year.
|Chocolate Xander: just one of the Coco-Loco creations from Homemade Liqueurs.|
This all-purpose simple syrup is employed in the formulas for most liqueurs.
Makes 3 cups
2¼ cups water
2¼ cups granulated cane sugar
Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is all moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 3 months.
Excerpted from Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits © 2013 by Andrew Schloss. All rights reserved. Photos © Leigh Beisch Photography.