It's the season of love, and while most prefer to dazzle their dates with boxes of chocolates, we like to dazzle them with chocolate-infused cocktails. So Valentine's Day is the perfect time to whip out the often forgotten bottles of chocolate liqueurs hiding in the back of the home bar.
Bobby Gleason (also known as "Bobby G."), the mixologist behind the newly launched Crave Chocolate Liqueurs line (that includes a mint chocolate, chocolate cherry, and chocolate and chile flavors), shared why chocolate liqueurs make the perfect cocktail — and not just the perfect Valentine's Day cocktail. Chocolate liqueurs spur on lots of new flavors profiles you don't normally get in a drink. "I want to have that beautiful marriage of flavors [when making drinks], and then something unexpected that makes your eyes light up," Gleson says.
When thinking about how to use chocolate liqueurs, Gleason says the first flavors that come to mind are obvious: fruit and nuts. But don't be afraid to think about other flavors when thinking of chocolate-based cocktails; coffee, caramel, hazelnuts, florals, lavender, and even some spices also work well in them. Take the Chocolate and Chili flavor from Crave: "A lot of people don't associate chocolate and chile together," says Gleason. "But when you think of the culmination of Latin food — like a mole sauce — the flavors work really well together."
When thinking about your chocolate cocktails, be sure to think of what spirits work best with the chocolate. After all, a cocktail consists of a base alcohol and a modifier; in this case, the modifier is the chocolate. "The base spirit and the modifier really need to balance each other out," Gleason says. Some of the best spirits to use when making a chocolate cocktail:
• Bourbon: An obvious choice, Gleason says a trick he likes to use is to thin out peanut butter with cream, then add chocolate liqueur and bourbon for a nutty cocktail.
• Aged whiskeys, tequilas, and rums: Why the aged spirits? Anything aged in a wood barrel is going to take on some vanilla and wood notes that meld well with the chocolate.
• Whipped cream vodka: Yeah, we never thought we'd be telling you to stock up on that Pinnacle whipped cream, but let's be real — you won't find an easier 1-2 punch to make.
Want some chocolate liqueur inspiration for Valentine's Day? These three easy cocktail recipes will do the trick.