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A Warming and Wintry Chocolate Cordial
Best served when the snow is flying...
What a beautiful Autumn it’s been, so rich in warmth and color. Now that my gardens are put to bed and Thanksgiving has come and gone, It’s time to turn once again to making preparations for my favorite time of year, the longest night of the year…The Winter Solstice. The longest night of the year, with plenty of time to celebrate, the Winter Solstice is the perfect holiday for Jewish girls that love Christmas and long to really throw great parties during this time of year. Usually we have a really large gathering of family and friends with wonderful food and delicious things to drink. I love to always have a special cocktail for that evening and anything rich with chocolate flavor never disappoints, especially around the holidays!
Purchased chocolate liqueurs almost always fall short of the rich and intense chocolate flavor that I adore. Imagine my pleasure then when I finally learned to make my own using a recipe inspired by John Scharffenberger of Scharffenberger chocolate fame. I think you’ll love this recipe and I’ll be excited to hear what delicious memories you create with it.
I'm pretty sure that I will be making up a large batch of it this year to enjoy on Solstice eve with enough left over to carry me into the New Years! A drink this decadent is a great excuse to use my Grandmothers iridescent cocktail glasses! I love to top each one with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a sprinkling of dark and white chocolate shavings. Chocolate cordial drizzled over the top of a scoop of plain vanilla, chocolate or peppermint stick ice cream or fresh pear sorbet is completely luscious or you can use it as the base of a fabulous martini.
In the past, I’ve added a little bit of peppermint schnapps and a mini candy cane to make an even more festive cocktail or for something a little more sophisticated I’ve added candied orange rind, crystallized ginger and just a bit of Grand Marnier! I’ve also discovered that this cordial marries well with the Lavender/Rose syrup that I make in the summer as well as the lemon, star anise and ginger syrup in autumn. Shake a bit of this chocolate cordial over ice with any of these additions and you’ll have a chocolate martini that’s filled with flavor and fun! If you like a warming drink, a generous splash of this cordial in a hot mug of coffee , topped with sweetened whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle is a perfect and utterly cozy way to end the evening.
This recipe serves 6 (makes approximately 3 cups)
You will need:
1/2 cup unsweetened good quality cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vodka (the recipe calls for plain, but I cheated and used 3 Olives Chocolate vodka which made it even better)
3/4 cup heavy cream, for topping
In a bowl, whisk cocoa powder into the boiling water.
In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup and let this infuse for a few hours, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a jar with a lid. Add the vodka, cover and refrigerate overnight. (It will keep up to a month, but will lose potency over time.).
To serve, stir well and strain again through a fine-mesh sieve into a martini or cordial glass, 2/3 full. Top with lightly-sweetened whipped cream, or float heavy cream on top. (Hold a spoon with the bowl down and the edge almost touching the liqueur in the glass. Pour the cream slowly over the back of the spoon until a layer 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep floats on top of the liqueur.) Garnish with rose petals, crushed peppermints, ground cinnamon or chocolate shavings.
Blessed Solstice , Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all of you….Wishing you all, the Happiest, most Magical and Kindest of New Years too.