I bought myself a few cookery books in the States because, you know, there’s always room for one or two more. And I bought Mast Brothers Chocolate on the strength of two things: the absolutely beautiful photography and text design (probably some of the best I’ve ever seen; you can see some of it on the Amazon US site here) and this cocktail recipe. I so wish I could recreate the photograph for you but you’ll just have to buy the book won’t you (p. 246).
I rarely make cocktails at home, bar mixing the odd Little Bird gin and tonic, or a champagne (okay, cava) cocktail with sloe gin, mainly because I don’t have either the energy or the expertise. But this, even I can make this since you don’t need any special equipment, and most of the ingredients, except the bitters, will be available in a supermarket. And it is incredible: not too sweet, not too faffy, just interesting enough to make you want more but not so interesting that you need a degree in mixology (or whatever it’s called) to perfect one. Simple, gorgeous and celebratory…every Christmas should be so lucky. What are you waiting for? Go and make some!
Chocolate black velvet (adapted from Mast Brothers Chocolate)
Makes as many as you want; the chocolate syrup part of the recipe will make a good jarful, about 600ml, which you can chill ready for the next time…
For the chocolate syrup
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
sugar, 100g (see below re using vanilla sugar)
dark chocolate (the good stuff, none of that weak rubbish), 25g
cocoa powder (ditto), 100g
vanilla bean, the seeds from a third of a bean (or, as I did, use sugar that has had a vanilla bean stored in it; you can also buy ready-infused, and inevitably overpriced, vanilla sugar)
How to (syrup)
1. Chop the dark chocolate into smallish pieces. Then put all the ingredients into a saucepan, stir and bring to a boil.
2. Take off the heat, pour through a sieve to strain and leave to cool.
For each cocktail you will need:
champagne flute or coupe
chocolate syrup, 12ml
stout (I used Bad Seed’s Espresso Stout, which is perfect, because the slight tang of coffee is just what you need to cut the chocolate), 25ml
champagne or sparkling wine, 75ml
orange bitters, a dash
orange zest, a twist or some neatly chopped bits
For each cocktail: how to
The easiest way to measure this is to put each glass, one at a time, on a digital scale. If you haven’t got one then use a tablespoon (equivalent to 25ml) and teaspoon (equivalent to 5ml).
1. Put a champagne glass on a scale and measure out the following:
a) chocolate syrup
c) Champagne or cava
d) orange bitters.
2. Garnish with the zest (don’t overdo it, as I did first time, since bits of orange zest stuck in the teeth rather diminish the sexy joy of this drink) and raise your glasses to the season to be very very jolly.