The Chocolate Rye Recipe

The Chocolate Rye Recipe

Photograph: Elana Lepkowski

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.

  • 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)
  • 1 barspoon syrup from Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
  • Garnish: Luxardo cherry


  1. 1.

    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.)

  2. 2.

    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.