Port Cocktails: The Chocolate Cocktail No. 1

That bottle of ruby Port still isn’t empty, and we’re going to keep making cocktails with it until it is. When thinking of what to do next this one immediately came to mind, especially because it’s one of those wondrous tidbits of cocktail alchemy where ingredients go together and end up tasting entirely like … something else.

That something else in this case is chocolate. Kinda. ("Well, it certainly doesn’t not taste like chocolate," as Wesly put it.) No, it’s nothing like the so-called “Chocolate Martini” (of which I maintain there is no such thing, because a Martini contains gin and vermouth and sometimes orange bitters and never, ever chocolate), nor even like the several legitimately tasty chocolate-based cocktails, since this cocktail contains no chocolate at all, with the possible, optional exception of a slight dusting of cocoa on its surface as garnish, and to provide a tidbit of aroma. Even without that … it looks like chocolate and (kinda) tastes something like chocolate too. It’s really fun.

This one’s a relative of another port-and-egg cocktail that we’ll do a bit later on, and both of them fall into the category of what Maks Pazuniak called “mindfuck cocktails” in his and Kirk Estopinal’s now sadly out-of-print book Rogue Cocktails (which will be back in print in a revised edition and under another title soon, we hope). That’s another technical term for “cocktail alchemy,” of course.

Maks and Kirk listed this one as the “Chocolate Cocktail No. 2,” adapted from Patrick Gavin Duffy’s The Official Mixer’s Manual, which was first published in 1934. Duffy lists two Chocolate Cocktails, with No. 2 being “3/4 Port, 1/4 yellow Chartreuse, 1 egg yolk and a teaspoon of crushed chocolate.” Duffy’s No. 2 version is a jigger each of yellow Chartreuse and maraschino, with an egg yolk and a teaspoon of superfine sugar. I don’t see how the second one is going to taste much like chocolate, and didn’t particularly feel like spending a jigger of that rather expensive Chartreuse to find out (maybe one day). Their version, which brings the proportion down from 3:1 to 2:1, seemed to work very well, but to increase decrease confusion I think I’ll crank its number back to one.

The Chocolate Cocktail No. 2


2 ounces ruby Port
1 ounce yellow Chartreuse
1 egg yolk

Combine with ice and shake hard for 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and dust the surface of the drink with a bit of cocoa as garnish.

Who would’ve thought that port, Chartreuse and an egg yolk tastes kinda like chocolate. Nifty and very tasty.

Speaking of Patrick Gavin Duffy, my copy of his book came to me secondhand, as do many of my books. My dad had an extremely brittle and crumbly paperback edition from the early 1960s that up until five years ago was still around, although held together with a rubber band (the glue holding the spine together had long since dried out and crumbled away). Unfortunately, the Federal Flood resulting from Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge being channeled right up the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and into my parents’ part of the city drowned that book, along with everything else in the house.

My own copy is a hardback reprint from 1975 (revised and enlarged by Robert Jay Misch) which came with a gift inscription:

For Peg and Jim –

who don’t need much
of my help as “mixers”
(Careful of the cocktail on p. 48)

All the best,

Bob M.


Presumably the “S.F.” is San Francisco, which also makes sense when you turn to page 48 to look up the cocktail he warned them about. To my delight, it’s Ada Coleman’s wonderful Hanky Panky, featuring that favorite bitter of the City by the Bay, Fernet Branca. After 34 years I don’t know if Peg and Jim and their friend Bob are still with us — I certainly hope they are — but I sure wouldn’t mind knocking back a few Hanky Pankys and Chocolate Cocktails with them. Your old book has a good home.


2 Responses to “Port Cocktails: The Chocolate Cocktail No. 1”

  1. Tweets that mention Looka!» Blog Archive » Port Cocktails: The Chocolate Cocktail No. 1 -- Topsy.com said:

    May 25, 10 at 12:48 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by YatPundit, Chuck Taggart. Chuck Taggart said: New Looka! post: Port Cocktails: The Chocolate Cocktail No. 1 http://bit.ly/dtnaFc [...]

  2. g said:

    May 31, 10 at 5:06 pm

    Chuck, I’m visiting your blog once again – thinking about New Orleans and the gulf, although since you’re in LA like me I should remember you’ve got more to offer than just NO lore.

    I just wanted to tell you that after I first read your post about the Mother-in-Law cocktail, it has been a staple around my house – my husband likes manhattans, but I find them a little too harsh, so a Mother-in-Law hits the sweet spot for me. We follow your recipe except for the marachino liquer – we get excellent marachino cherries from The Dalles, Oregon, and use a bit of the juice instead.

    I can’t believe its been almost 5 years since we first discovered this wonderful cocktail!! And I hope we will enjoy many more. Thanks!