Monday, 13 June 2011

The Bone-Dry Chocolatini

Well, you know how some bars serve up a weird, saccharine, fruity or cloudy concoction, pour it into a Martini glass and declare it to be some kind of Martini. I take a pretty dim view of this: if something is billed as a Martini variant it should be primarily gin (or perhaps vodka), adjusted by a relatively small quantity of something in the traditional role of the vermouth. You do see “Chocolatinis” on menus sometimes, often sweet, gooey masses, like alcoholic desserts in a glass.

So I was intrigued when I came across Mozart Dry chocolate liqueur*. The Mozart brands adorns a range of chocolate-flavoured beverages, in which the Mozart Distillerie has been specialising for 30 years (distributed here by Mangrove), but this one in interesting in that it is very chocolatey indeed, but completely unsweetened: raw cacao and vanilla are macerated in alcohol then distilled and bottled at 40% ABV. It immediately occurred to me that here was a chance to make a Chocolatini that was still essentially a Dry Martini.

A lot of gift pack for a small bottle of liqueur
Just get a load of the Mozart Dry gift set. That tiny bottle of the liqueur comes with a massive speed-pourer, presumably to give some sort of grab-handle for the busy barman (actually probably quite useful on the 70cl bottle, which is squat and round and not that easy to grasp quickly). Then there is the cocktail recipe book that folds over, utilises some cunning Velcro tabs and turns itself into a presentation stand/head-up display. For the busy barman. And finally there is a sampling glass created by boozeware wizards Reidel, who have made it their mission to create a glass for all known types of booze, scientifically tailored to that drink to present its aroma and taste in the most effective way. In this case it is more or less the classic tulip shape but with relatively straight sides. Naturally I scoffed. But having tried it I have to admit that neat Mozart Dry chocolate liqueur does taste better out of one of these than it does out of a shot glass or a wine glass.

Incidentally, the connection with Mozart is simply that the manufacturers are based in Salzburg, Wolfgang Amadeus’ home town.

Anyway, back to the cocktail.

Bone-Dry Chocolatini
4 (or, if you prefer, 5) parts gin
1 part Mozart Dry chocolate liqueur

Shake or stir with ice, strain into a Martini glass and garnish with a strip of lemon peel.

At first I thought that the traditional association of chocolate with orange might make a worthwhile avenue to go down, so I tried using a gin that made use of sweet orange peel in its botanical mix: so I tried No.3 Gin and Beefeater gin, and compared them directly alongside SW4 as a control. But to my surprise, they didn’t really work: I asked Mrs H. (a considerable fan of the cocoa bean’s work) what she thought and she wrinkled her nose at the No.3 variant, declaring it to have a strange and unpleasant herbal thing going on. Her clear favourite was the SW4.

I also experimented with using orange peel, rather than lemon, as a garnish, but I can report that it also doesn’t really work. Although orange is a traditional garnish in, say, a Negroni, I think the Dry Chocolatini doesn’t have the rich, sweet, spicy qualities to work with orange. It is still, at heart, a Dry Martini, and benefits more from the sharp, fresh zest of the noble lemon.

One final experiment was to try using DH Krahn gin. This Amerian boutique gin is distributed over here by Eaux De Vie, which was where I encountered it. To me it has a slightly chocolatey taste so I thought I’d give it a go. In fact the only botanicals are Italian juniper, Moroccan coriander, Florida orange peel, Californian lemon peel and grapefruit peel, and Thai ginger. But the company uses a secret maceration technique, a single distillation and a three-month resting period in steel barrels to get the most out of their carefully chosen plants. To me the gin is smooth and, as I say, for some reason has a hint of chocolate.

And I can report that it makes an excellent Dry Chocolatini. You can’t miss the chocolate—you smell it immediately—but the citrus and coriander also rise up in the bouquet. And the chocolate taste slots right in naturally with the gin botanicals as if it were just another part of the mix. Mind you, SW4 works pretty well too.

There you have it, a chocolate Martini that is dry and still essentially about the gin.

Of course there are plenty of other things you can do with Mozart Dry: it’s Mrs H.’s birthday today, so I think I may work through some of the recipes in the high-tech recipe book and I’ll let you know how we get on…

* Technically I guess it is not a liqueur precisely because it is unsweetened. So it is more accurately a chocolate spirit. I think they may also make a chocolate bitters.


  1. I haven't drunk a glass of it, but bottle looks great. I'd like to check by myself if can really compaire with a Martini. how much does it cost?

  2. It's £27.75 from the Whisky Exchange


  3. Your should also be able to get a miniature—the Whisky Exchange do miniatures of some of the other Mozart chocolate range, but, annoyingly, they don't seem to do one of the Dry.