Those who haven’t been living in a box for 2006 should know by now that Guy and I have been doing a lot of experimenting with the making of liqueurs. It started with my first batch of limoncello and then went from there. So far, between the two our households, we’ve tried lemon, lime, orange-vanilla, kumquat, blueberry, cranberry (yum!), apricot brandy and garlic. (yes, garlic; it takes all kinds) Now that they’re in season I personally wouldn’t mind trying tomato and cucumber, but I think I might be alone in that endeavor.
During research for recipes and methods Guy came across a collection which included a seemingly improbable recipe for chocolate liqueur. Take a lot of 99% cocoa, chop it up, suspend it
just barely above a lot of vodka (don’t let it touch!) and then let it sit there for six months before adding simple syrup and then letting it sit for a while longer. Could that really work? I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to find out.
Today was the six month anniversary of the suspending of the chocolate, so it was time for an unveiling of a sort. Did it actually work? Did I have a jar half full of chocolate vodka?
Well I’ll be jiggered. It is chocolate vodka. Not overpoweringly flavored, but flavored nevertheless. The taste is more than subtle but certainly not as much as popping a bit of chocolate in your mouth. Unfortunately, it’s also slightly musty and stale. My theory is that during transportation from the kitchen to the closet, some vodka sloshed up onto the suspended chocolate and soaked some of the cheesecloth. Over the past six months that caused the nearby chocolate to take on a bit of a stale flavor which then spread through the rest of the jar. It’s not ruined, I don’t think, but I also don’t think I’ll be pulling this out to share with dinner guests.
Another problem is that this is 100 proof vodka. The fruit liqueurs all took some of the alcohol edge off of their batches but the chocolate seemed to almost enhance it. It is, to say the least, a little bit harsh. It’s my hope that the final aging will mellow it out a bit more. It will have to be served ice cold, even with the aging.
So the sugar syrup has been added (1.3 cups syrup plus just a small pinch of salt) and the jar has returned to the closet for another couple of months. We’ll see what comes of my little experiment. I’m already considering what to try next. How about suspending coffee beans? Or adding some vanilla beans to the chocolate? Truffles, anyone? OK, I was kidding about that last idea. Sorta.