Just say no to a “Chocolate Martini”

Well no, our Cocktail of the Day is not a tequila cocktail, since we skipped a post for Cinco de Mayo (and drank lovely Tequila Old Fashioneds: 2 oz. Partida Añejo, 1 tsp. agave nectar, 1 dash each of Angostura Aromatic and Angostura Orange Bitters, and a big swath of grapefruit peel). It’s one I read about in Eric Felten’s column in the Wall Street Journal back in February … ahh, I’m nothing if not procrastinatory.

Paul Clarke has been truly kicking butt the last couple of weeks with his “Thirty in Thirty” series, a cocktail post a day for a month. Last Sunday he wrote about a fantastic-sounding drink called the Theobroma (theobroma cacao being, of course, the Latin name for the cacao bean that brings us all that nummy chocolate) in which he quoted a rule from the Esquire Drinks Database: “There is no such thing as a Chocolate Martini!”.

This is true, but as Eric points out in his article (and some fine examples from Paul), although chocolate as a cocktail ingredient has been badly misused over the past few decades there is indeed historical precedent as well as some great uses, if done carefully and with the proper balance. As I rule I dislike sweet cocktails, so you’re already treading on dangerous ground, but it certainly can be done.

I’m also cautious about dessert cocktails, and the one Eric wrote about certainly falls into that category for me. But despite the fact that it’s 2 parts spirit to 1 part liqueur it doesn’t seem overly sweet and was just the thing after our dinner the other night.

Key to this drink, I think, is finding Marie Brizard’s dark crème de cacao, which has less sweetness and higher proof as well as a deeper chocolate flavor than most inexpensive liqueurs of its kind. Heering is, of course, welcome in so many cocktails I like already, and unsurprisingly it plays very well with the other ingredients. Once Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters is on the market, I’d bet this would benefit from a dash of that too, like Paul’s Theobroma.

The Dolores Cocktail
(adapted by Eric Felten)

2 ounces Spanish brandy, or any brandy. (We used Don Pedro.)
1/2 ounce Marie Brizard dark Crème de Cacao.
1/2 ounce Cherry Heering.

Combine with ice and stir for 20-30 seconds. Strain into your prettiest cocktail glass and garnish with a brandied cherry.

Try making this one if someone comes over and asks for a “Chocolate Martini.” This is a chocolate drink for grown-ups.