by Darcy O'Neil on February 2011
With "martini's" being all the rage these days, it's not hard to identify the trend setting cocktails. The Cosmopolitan was a big trend setter, but the Chocolate Martini is also a contender. The Cosmo, as it is now know, was a fairly inventive cocktail, combining principals of old, with modern tastes. With the classic Chocolate Martini (1 part Vodka & 1 part Creme de Cacao) there isn't much to appreciate, nor is it a particularly complex drink. What it does have is chocolate, and who doesn't like chocolate. The key to a great Chocolate Martini, is a creative imagination, and David McCarthy is one of those people. David has submitted a couple of recipes, for the Cocktail Critic, that take the basic drink to the next level. Let's see if he hits the mark.
Chocolate Martini Review
The components for David's basic chocolate martini include vodka, vanilla vodka and Cask & Cream Chocolate Temptation. Obviously, this is a classic formula, with some twists. The first is using vanilla vodka in the blend, this is a good addition as most milk chocolate contains vanilla extract, so the flavours are complementary. David recommends Stoli vanilla vodka, and I tend to agree, since it has great vanilla flavour, without being overly sweet.
The second twist is using a better quality chocolate liqueur. This will help to elevate the taste profile, which is always a good thing. Cask & Cream Chocolate Temptation is basically a sweet cream liqueur, like Irish cream (Bailey's) but with a brandy base and heavy on the dark chocolate. Normally in a "Choclatini" you would use clear creme de cacao, which is basically artificial chocolate flavour in an alcoholic simple syrup. Not great quality, but mixes well with vodka and creates a clear drink, reminiscent of the original Martini. This chocolate cocktail is mahogany in colour. Where this drink shines is in its taste. It is plain and simple, use a better chocolate liqueur, you get a better cocktail.
The recipe for the cocktail is as follows:
Chocolate Martini (by David McCarthy)
1 part good vodka
1 part Stoli vanilla vodka
1 & 1/2 part cask & cream chocolate temptation
Combine all ingredients with ice. Shake and fine strain into a martini glass. Rim the glass with lemon and dip in baker's cocoa.
Cask & Cream is a sweet liquor, and cutting it back with vodka is a good idea that allows the flavours to come out, and partially avoid the cloying sweetness that can cover everything up. If you don't have Cask & Cream at your local liquor store, you can use Godiva, Mozart or any other quality chocolate liqueur. The basic premise is to up the quality of the drink by using better ingredients.
This is not the first modification of the Chocolate Martini. Godiva has a recipe using their liqueur and there is a similar drink using Amarula. The combination of cream liqueur, chocolate and vodka has been around before.
Amarula Chocolate Martini
2 oz Amarula Cream Liqueur
1 oz Vodka
Splash of creme de cocoa
Chill a martini glass. Shake all ingredients with crushed ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. If desired, swirl chocolate syrup in the martini glass. Garnish with chocolate shavings.
David sent in a number of variations that substitute one liqueur for another. Here are the variations:
Mounds Bar Martini
1 parts stoli or better vanilla vodka
1 part good coconut rum
1 & 1/2 part chocolate temptation
"The Almond Joy"
add 1/2 part Ameretto or Franjelico
"The Chocolate Truffle
substitute 1/2 part Black Raspberry liqueur
Cocktail Critic Summary:
The use of vanilla vodka and a better quality chocolate liqueur make this drink better than a plain old Chocolate Martini using creme de cacao. However, David's recipe would seem to be a brand style drink, since the drink is dependant on the Cask & Creme liqueur for its uniqueness.
The drinks submitted by David are very easy to make and would not be difficult for any aspiring bartender to prepare. These cocktails would be good for house parties, since you could whip them up quickly and still spend time with your guests and friends.
You can't argue with chocolate. If you don't like chocolate, you might want to see a doctor. But, there is nothing new with this flavour.
There is nothing exceptionally creative about this cocktail, as there have been similar drinks made before these.
Excellent. In a fast pace club environment, whipping out decent tasting drinks, quickly, is the difference between successful businesses and failures. The drink is easy to prepare and doesn't present any obstacles to even your most inept bartender.
I would have looked for a more unique vanilla liqueur, like Navan vanilla cognac, to replace the vanilla vodka. Cask & Cream is made with brandy and the cognac would have been complimentary.
Overall the cocktail was pleasant and would be a hit at high volume clubs or house parties. For those looking for a new experience or something never before created, this cocktail will probably not meet your needs.
Next Week: We will take a look at a drink made using absinthe called the Moloko-plus that was inspired by the movie A Clockwork Orange.
About the Rating System
Each category is given a two point value. For example using unique ingredients, like unique fruit syrups or different sugars, will garner two stars, where as, using common ingredients like orange juice wonâ€™t garner any points. After the five areas have been looked at, a rating out of ten is assigned.