Ditch the box of chocolates this year and drink this spiced cacao-nib-and-toasted-almond-infused cocktail instead.
Note: If Meyer lemons are unavailable, you can substitute a mix of equal parts fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice. For best flavor, use the infused rye within 1 year.
About the Author: Elana Lepkowski is a Los Angeles based home-schooled mixologist who photographs and shares her cocktail recipes at StirAndStrain.com. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as @stirandstrain where she sometimes forgets she needs a filter.
- Yield:Makes 1 cocktail, Infusion yields 12 ounces
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:3 days
- For the infused rye:
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 5 allspice berries
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 (2-inch long) cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 1/2 cups rye whiskey, such as Redemption Rye
- For each cocktail:
- 1 3/4 ounce cacao nib infused rye
- 3/4 ounce oloroso sherry
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice, from 1/2 meyer lemon (see note above)
- 1 barspoon syrup from Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
- Garnish: Luxardo cherry
For the infusion: In an airtight container, combine cacao nibs, peppercorns, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and rye, and swirl to mix. Let sit at room temperature for 2 days, shaking occasionally, then strain into a clean airtight container. (See note above.)
For each cocktail: Fill a mixing glass 2/3 full with ice. Add infused rye, sherry, lemon juice, and syrup from the cherry jar. Stir until well chilled, about 25 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry and serve.