Imagine coming home after a long day of work and sipping on a sweet and refreshing cocktail, unwinding, and leaving work behind you. What could be better? Well how about pairing the cocktail with a delicious artisan crafted chocolate truffle from your favorite chocolate shop. Now that sounds like the perfect way to unwind.
While most chocolate shops aren’t selling booze with their chocolates, there is nothing stopping you from picking up a variety of chocolates, shaking up a solid drink, and pairing the two at home. To make the process even easier, I teamed up with Mary Collazo who owns Chocollazo, an artisan chocolate and sweets shop in San Antonio. We put our brains together to provide the perfect pairing guide for some of your favorite cocktails.
For lovers of whiskey, we paired the decadent treats with a classic cocktail: The Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned pairs excellently with dark chocolate. A caramel filled dark chocolate or the Chipotle English Toffee from Chocollazo pair perfectly with this cocktail. The heat from the chocolate and richness of the toffee pair exquisitely with the age and spice that you get from a good whiskey. The caramel in filled chocolate adds a balance to the pieces, similar to how sugar creates balance in the cocktail.
Next up, is a drink for agave lovers. We took the Paloma and made it with an aged mezcal then paired the drink with two different types of chocolate varieties. According to Collazo, you would typically pair tequila or a mezcal with a white chocolate, keeping light and fruit-forward chocolates with lighter spirits. The first candy was a lemon white chocolate, which was light and rounded off the citrus trifecta by pairing with the grapefruit and lime that was present in the cocktail. According to Collazo, you would typically pair tequila or a mezcal with a white chocolate, keeping light and fruit-forward chocolates with lighter spirits. However, having an aged spirit allows the cocktail to pair well with dark chocolate. So, in stark contrast to the while chocolate, is the Hatch Chili Dark Chocolate that we paired with the cocktail. While the lighter flavored chocolate did a great job of bringing out the citrus in the drink, the spicy creation enhanced the smoke and spice that was present in the aged mezcal.
If gin is more your drinking style, you can venture out of the chocolate realm and pair your favorite cocktail with one of Chocollazo’s signature desserts. For our pairing preferences, we decided to pair the Key Lime Pie from the sweetery with a Southside, prepared with an aged gin. The gin itself, rich in botanicals and citrus flavors, pairs so excellently with the tart sweetness from the key limes. The age grants the gin a little flexibility with the pairings, and a little more depth. If you are still wanting to stick on a chocolate route, the lemon white chocolate, or a chocolate dipped fruit could be the route to go.
Last, we created a pairing for those brunch lovers out there. Chocollazo has some of the best Chocolate Covered Bacon out there. They cook the bacon almost past the point of crispiness (if that’s even possible) and then completely submerge it in milk chocolate. The treat by itself is an astounding combination: smoky, sweet, salty, crunchy and smooth. The only way to make it better would be to make it a garnish for a delicious Bloody Mary. Vodka itself is a neutral spirit that could pair well with any type of treat. When mixed in a spicy and tangy Bloody Mary and then pairing it with bacon, brings out every flavor imaginable in one coupling.
2 oz. Whiskey (We used Swift, a Texas made whiskey.)
½ oz. Simple Syrup
3 Dashes of bitters (We used black walnut, gives it a nice nutty flavor to pair with the chocolates.)
Stir with and strain into Rocks glass
2 oz. Aged or Unaged Mezcal or Tequila (We used Kimo Sabe Repo.)
½ oz. Lime Juice
Build in a Collins glass add ice and top with Grapefruit Soda
2 oz. Gin (we used Treaty Oak’s Waterloo Antique Aged Gin)
¾ oz. Lime Juice
¾ oz. Simple Syrup
4-5 Mint Leaves
Shake and then serve either up or on rocks
2 oz. Vodka (We used Cinco, with a bit of sweetness)
Build in glass and top with your favorite Bloody Mary Mix
Add a dash or two of Tobasco
Garnish with Chocollazo’s Chocolate Covered Bacon