For those who like a double dose of Christmas vices there’s an ever-expanding array of products that feature both booze and chocolate in one hit—and here’s our guide to the best of them
Arguably the best pairing of booze and chocolate comes in the form of liqueurs—sugared spirits enriched with oodles of cocoa for a grown up treat of sweet confection.
You can sup these neat, but we think they’re best put to use in a cocktail, with Chocolate Martinis and Chocolate White Russians both worth shaking and stirring.
With the rise in popularity of cocktails there’s now a vast range of liqueurs to try, from classic brands such as Mozart, whose flavours include dark, white and even pumpkin spice chocolate flavours, to modern creations by the likes of high street chain Hotel Chocolat. And if cocktail mixing sounds like too much effort, simply dunk a shot of liqueur into your next mug of cocoa.
Beer may not immediately spring to mind when thinking about booze and chocolate combinations (and we certainly don’t recommend munching through a box of Quality Street while chugging away on a pint of lager) but dark porters and stouts are the perfect foil for cocoa.
There’s even a dark roasted malt used to brew these beers that is known as “chocolate malt” on account of it lending chocolate colours and flavours to the brew. So, it’s an obvious next step for some brewers to ramp up the chocolatey notes by throwing actual cocoa nibs into the mix.
Samuel Smiths is the traditional kind of brewery that wouldn’t mix chocolate with beer unless the results were excellent and their Organic Chocolate Stout is just that.
Or for more modern tastes check out West Country experimenters Wild Beer whose popular Millionaire contains cocoa nibs, sea salt and lactose. And if you really want to chomp on a box of chocs while drinking beer, may we suggest that a sweet cherry Kriek from Belgian brewery Boon makes the perfect partner.
Chocolate and wine
Most people will tell you that chocolate and wine don’t go together, and in most instances they would be right. But some producers go to great lengths to try and disprove this theory.
An Ohio based pulmonologist, Dr Nick Proia, set out to create a chocolate blend that enhanced the flavours of wine, rather than fight them, and his resulting bars of Brix are now available in four different flavours.
Some wine producers have also tried to marry the two flavours by blending chocolate with sweet wines, but if you’re desperate to mix grape and cocoa then might we suggest opting for a syruppy sweet sherry like Soluqua Pedro Ximinez instead? It’s so thick, dark and sticky —and full of sweet and mature, toasty, fruity flavours—that you can even use it as a sauce to pour over chocolate pudding.
So far, our double acts mostly concern inserting chocolate into booze, but there are plenty of chocolatiers who use alcoholic drinks as an ingredient for their culinary creations.
Perhaps the most familiar are the hollow chocolates, commonly crafted in a barrel shape, that are lined with sugar on the inside and release boozy liquid when bitten. These are all good fun but we much prefer it when the drinks are more expertly blended with the confectionary.
Truffles are the most likely style to receive boozy treatment, with Champagne being a common addition—although we’re not quite sure you really get the benefits of the fizz other than to make the truffles sound a little posher. Gin fans should love the combination of Sipsmith Gin with Charbonnel Truffles but our favourite sweet treats involve darker spirits whisky and rum.
Perhaps the most successful of these we’ve tried are the delicious ganache from Belgian chocolatiers Pierre Marcolini, who have expertly blended rare whiskies and rums into a desirable box of chocolates, proving that even when it comes to whisky the booze and chocolate combination can work.
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