Chocolate! Is there anything so loved in our world as chocolate? You can eat it by itself, you can cover almonds, peanuts, and cashews in it. You can put marshmallow, peanut butter, or coconut in it. You can drink it. You can make a pie out of it. It’s one of the most loved and versatile products in the world. As Cassandra Clare once said “Life without chocolate is life lacking something important.” and I agree with her.
A Brief History Of Chocolate
We’ll have to travel back to Mesoamerica where we first encountered chocolate in its original form. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency. The word “chocolate” comes from the Classical Nahuatl word chocolātl, and entered the English language from the Spanish.
The seed of the cacao tree forms a sheath that is about 20″ long, hanging from the tree trunk itself. Within the sheath are 30 to 40 brownish-red almond-shaped beans embedded in a sweet viscous pulp. Cacao pods themselves can range in a wide range of colors, from pale yellow to bright green, all the way to dark purple or crimson. Originally prepared as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to give the drinker strength.
Christopher Columbus encountered the cacao bean on his fourth mission to the Americas on August 15, 1502, when he and his crew seized a large native canoe that proved to contain among other goods for trade, cacao beans. After its arrival to Europe in the sixteenth century, sugar was added to it and it became popular throughout society, first among the ruling classes and then among the common people.
History Records the first mention of a chocolate liqueur as early as 1666. In America the first mention of Chocolate and alcohol was a chocolate wine recipe from the 18th century. Basic recipes for making chocolate liqueur listed the ingredients as chocolate extract, vanilla extract, vodka, and simple syrup. Chocolate liqueur can be consumed straight or used in mixed drinks and desserts like dessert sauces, cakes, and truffles.
Different Types Of Chocolate
Here is a great break down of the different types of chocolate that are out there from Lake Champlain Chocolates.
Chocolate Liquor – Chocolate liquor, sometimes referred to as unsweetened chocolate, is the base of all types of chocolate. This thick, dark brown paste is created from cacao nibs, the inside of the cocoa bean. You can find some here on Amazon.
White Chocolate – White chocolate is easy to identify because of its cream or ivory color. It is made by combining sugar, cocoa butter, milk, vanilla, and lecithin.
Milk Chocolate – Milk chocolate is a classic that we all know and love from childhood. With its light brown color, creamy texture, and sweet flavor, milk chocolate is widely regarded as the most popular type of chocolate. It is made by combining chocolate liquor (cocoa solids and cocoa butter) with sugar, and milk. Sometimes an emulsifier, such as soy lecithin, is added to enhance its smoothness.
Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate, with its notable deep brown color, is the second most popular type of chocolate. It is sometimes referred to as black or semisweet chocolate and is noticeably less sweet than milk chocolate. In recent years, dark chocolate has surged in popularity thanks to a number of articles being published about the health benefits.
Bittersweet Chocolate – Bittersweet chocolate has gained a lot of traction recently as people started to learn more about cacao and cocoa percentages. This kind of chocolate, sometimes referred to as extra-dark chocolate, rose to popularity when people began claiming that you should eat dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more, in order to get the most health benefits.
Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder is created when chocolate liquor is separated under high pressure, and the resulting cocoa solids are crushed into a powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder is essentially 100% cocoa. It is often used in Baking. You can check out some recipes from this book here on Amazon.
Ruby Chocolate – In 2017, a fourth type of chocolate, ruby chocolate was discovered by Belgian chocolate maker Barry Callebaut. With its red-pink hue, this distinctive chocolate is noticeably different than its other chocolate counterparts. It is not colored white chocolate, but rather a color derived from a specific type of cacao — the ruby cocoa bean (a bean typically grown in Ecuador, Brazil, and the Ivory Coast.) Because this is a relatively new discovery (and the exact cacao making process developed by Barry Callebaut is proprietary), there is no standard FDA definition.
Chocolate liqueur is a beverage made from a base liquor like whiskey or vodka to which chocolate is added. Some chocolate liqueurs contain dark chocolate and others are made with milk chocolate or white chocolate. This can also refer to chocolate candies filled with liquor. You can check out some right here from Amazon.
Perfect Pairings And Recipes
Chocolate and Whisky have long been paired together for multiple reasons. The duo can help to mellow one another out and highlight the sweetness of both. Since both Whisky and Chocolate come in multiple forms you can mix its opposite taste with the other. If you have a spicy, hard whisky you can complement it with a sweet, mellow milk chocolate. If you have a sweet Whisky then you can try the opposite approach with a more bitter dark chocolate. In both cases you will have a drink that is satisfying and not too harsh or sweet.
Stouts often have a very sweet and husky taste to them. Dark chocolate can pair well with a stout to bring out the sweetness and bitterness to cause very flavorful and balanced drink.
Shiraz and Chocolate go together well in a variety of ways. Dark Chocolate is low in sugar so it can mellow out a bold wine. You can also use fruit flavored chocolates to enhance the flavor of the Shiraz without overwhelming you with sweetness.
The Ultimate Frozen Mudslide
1 1/2 oz chocolate vodka (vanilla or even plain vodka would work as well)
1 1/2 oz Irish cream
1 1/2 oz Kahlua
1 oz creme de cacao
48 oz chocolate ice cream
Garnish: chocolate syrup
Garnish: chocolate sprinkles
Garnish: grated chocolate
Garnish: mini chocolate chips
- To a large blender, add chocolate vodka, Irish cream, Kahlua, creme de cacao and chocolate ice cream. Cover and blend well. You may need to scrape the sides of your blender halfway through, then continue blending.
- Drizzle chocolate syrup in a small shallow plate, and add chocolate sprinkles to another small shallow plate. Dip glass rims in chocolate syrup, then in sprinkles. If desired, drizzle chocolate syrup around the inside of the glasses in a random pattern. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Pour mudslide into glasses, top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of grated chocolate and a few mini chocolate chips. Enjoy!
Death By Chocolate Cocktail
1 cup crushed ice
2 scoops chocolate ice cream
1 ounce chocolate syrup
1 ounce coffee liqueur
1 ounce crème de cacao liqueur (dark)
1 ounce vodka
Garnish: whipped cream
Garnish: maraschino cherry
- Pour all of the ingredients into a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a stemmed glass such as a hurricane glass.
- Top with whipped cream and a cherry.
- Serve and enjoy!
2 ounces vodka
1 1/2 ounces crème de cacao (or other chocolate liqueur)
Garnish: chocolate candy
Garnish: powdered cocoa (for rim)
- Rim a cocktail glass with cocoa: Wet the rim by dipping it in a small dish of the chocolate liqueur, then dip or roll it in a dish of cocoa powder.
- Pour the vodka and chocolate liqueur into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
- Shake vigorously.
- Strain into prepared glass.
- Garnish with a chocolate candy.