Valentine's Day is Sunday, and if you're poised to woo or be wooed chances are you've got chocolate and booze on your mind. If you're looking to approach the sweet holiday from both angles at once, you might be interested in some cocktails that also satisfy your chocolate cravings.
We talked to chocolatier Jonathan Grahm of Brentwood's Compartes, who--no surprise--happens to have some thoughts on the matter of chocolate in cocktails. Grahm prefers cocktails that use a Dark Creme de Cacao liquor, as opposed to a too-heavy chocolate liquor or even chocolate's syrup. When imbibing, be on the alert for overly sweet drinks that are cloying, and look for the quality of what is going in the drink. "Bar patrons should be weary that they are not drinking a Sandra Lee-style novelty cocktail that's a rimmed martini glass of crushed Oreos and a blend of vanilla infused vodka and Hershey's syrup. I think reading the ingredients in the cocktail is critical to how one is going to feel about the chocolate cocktail, it is pretty hit or miss and you have to be sure they are using the right stuff in there." Grahm's favorite chocolate cocktail came from downtown's The Varnish, where they make a drink called The Irish Meow that uses ingredients like Aztec Chocolate Bitters and a few gratings of high quality dark chocolate.
Many bars are currently serving up seasonal cocktails that use chocolate. At Rush Street in Culver City, bartender Brian Kimmet makes a Tootsie Roll. The martini-style drink uses orange to balance out the heft of the chocolate, and does in fact taste like its namesake candy. And here's a list of some other places serving up chocolate cocktails:
The Edison: 19th Century Cocktail
Created by NYC's Death & Co.'s Brian Miller, for this old-school beverage The Edison uses their own Private Barrel of Woodford Reserve Bourbon,along with Sweet Vermouth, Fresh Lemon, & Chocolate Liqueur.
108 W 2nd Street, Downtown (213) 613-0000
Joselito's: Almond Joy Margarita
This tropical, chocolate-y take on a margarita might be worth the trek to Montrose. They combine Malibu rum, Gran Centenario tequila, real cream of coconut & a hint of chocolate to give you their interpretation of the candy bar classic.
2345 Honolulu Ave, Montrose (818) 957-1901
Rivera: Mayan Xocolata
If you like your chocolate hot...and spicy, warm up a chilly night with this concoction created by mixologist Julian Cox comprised of Venezuelan rum, hot chocolate, cardamom, and peppers.
1050 South Flower Street, Los Angeles (213) 749-1460
Kitchen 24: The Soda Jerk
Chill out and satisfy your boozy sweet tooth with this cold, creamy cocktail that's made with a scoop of Dandy Don's Vanilla Ice Cream floating on top of a shot of Amaretto, Dark Crème de Cacao in a Malt Glass.
1608 North Cahuenga Boulevard, Hollywood (323) 465-2424
If you're feeling adventurous and want to concoct your own chocolate-and-booze beverage for your sweetheart (or yourself) we talked to local mixologist Natalie Bovis, aka The Liquid Muse, who created this chocolate cocktail for Pinky Vodka. Turn the page for her recipe.
The Chocolate Covered Cherry
From: Natalie Bovis, The Liquid Muse
Makes: 1 drink
1 part Pinky Vodka
½ part maraschino liqueur
¾ part crème de cacao
1 tablespoon of chocolate sauce
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SHOW ME HOW
1 chocolate covered cherry
1. Swirl chocolate sauce around the inside of a martini glass and set aside.
2. Pour the vodka, maraschino liqueur and crème de cacao into a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake well and strain into chocolate swirled glass.
3. Add a chocolate covered cherry, on a cocktail pick, for garnish.