For me, chocolate is one of the most appealing flavors in the culinary universe, but it's hard to make into a decent cocktail.
Not that there aren't plenty of chocolate-laden drinks out there. But most of the drinks made with crème de cacao or other chocolate liqueurs are simply alcoholic confections designed to hide the flavor of liquor from novice drinkers. If you prefer to drink your dessert, that's your business, but when it comes to well-balanced cocktails, most of these just don't fit the bill.
Fortunately there are exceptions. I've written in the past about classic cocktails such as the Twentieth Century, that incorporate crème de cacao with a cautious hand to good effect. Here's a contemporary drink made with crème de cacao that's also worth trying: the Prospector.
Designed by Canadian bartender Jay Jones while helming the bar at Pourhouse in Vancouver's Gastown neighborhood—Jones now tends bar at Market by Jean-Georges in downtown Vancouver—the Prospector is named for one of the city's founders, a prospector turned saloon owner known as "Gassy Jack" Deighton. Built on a base of cognac, the Prospector matches the smooth richness of crème de cacao with one of chocolate's natural allies, the herbaceous flavor of green Chartreuse. A little Cointreau adds crispness and a light citrus snap, and the result is a cocktail that, while somewhat on the sweet side, is more of a slow-sipping cascade of flavors than the sugary alcopops that are so often the drinks made with chocolate liqueurs.
- 1 1/2 ounces cognac
- 1/2 ounce white creme de cacao
- 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau
- large strip of lemon zest, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Twist lemon zest over drink and use as garnish.
Mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer