Why do we give chocolates on Valentine’s Day? Well, in 1861, Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day.
This began the common link between Valentine’s Day and chocolate that continues today, over 150 years later. These days, every second, Americans collectively eat about 100 pounds of chocolate. Yikes! This Valentine’s Day, why not drink your chocolates instead?
First, some cocktails…
Chocolate Spice Martini
- 1/2 oz. Chocolate Vodka
- 2 oz. Chocolate Liqueur
- 1 oz. Orange Liqueur
- 2 oz. Light Cream
- Dash Cinnamon
- Dash Nutmeg
- Dash Ground Black Pepper
Preparation:Shake all ingredients in a martini shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist and dash of cinnamon or a roll of shaved dark chocolate, if desired.
- 2 oz. Chocolate Vodka
- 4 oz. Hot Chocolate
- 1 Roasted Marshmallow on Small Skewer
Preparation: Pour chocolate vodka into a mug and add hot chocolate. Garnish with toasted marshmallows on a skewer or with whipped cream.
“Hot Lips” Chocotini
Courtesy of Kara Newman
- 1/2 Red Chile Pepper (sliced)
- 1 oz. Chocolate Vodka
- 1 oz. Kahlua
- 1/2 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
- Fresh Cream
- Chocolate Shavings & Wedged Oranges (for garnish)
Preparation: In a cocktail shaker, muddle the sliced chile pepper. Add the chocolate vodka, Kahlua and maraschino liqueur. Shake together with ice and strain into a small glass. Next, gently pour cream over the back of a spoon to create a “float” on the top of the drink. Use a hand grater for a generous amount of chocolate shavings on the top of the drink.
Optional Garnish: A Chocolate Chile Pepper
With a whole red chile pepper and 1 ounce melted chocolate, dip 1/2 the chile pepper into the melted chocolate. Set on wax paper and put in refrigerator until chocolate hardens. Cut a slit in the upper portion of the chile pepper so it will sit neatly on the rim of the glass.
If you are out and about in NYC…
W New York has partnered with Brooklyn-based Nunu Chocolates to offer three exclusive, hand-crafted, boozy hot chocolates this winter in the recently renovated Living Room. The Nunu Spiked Hot Cocoa menu available at W features “As Long as It’s Legal” made with moonshine, “Baby it’s Chili Outside” made with mezcal-chili and “Absinthe Minded” with absinthe. Each drink is made from 65% dark chocolate shavings that give an intense and aromatic flavor and mix smoothly with the distinct and bold moonshine, the smokiness and warmth of mezcal-chili and the kick of anise in absinthe – three perfect reasons to indulge yourself this winter and keep warm in W’s flagship hotel.
If you are a beer-lover…
Founders Brewing Company introduced Big Lushious, a chocolate raspberry stout, this past December to mark the eleventh installment in the brewery’s popular Backstage Series. Big Lushious is a deep, rich stout that’s packed with flavor, including roasted malts, all-natural dark chocolate, a subtle suggestion of burnt coffee grounds and a kiss of tart raspberries. At 7.8% ABV, it’s big, sumptuous and extravagant, but also balanced (FoundersBrewing.com).
But if you would like to EAT the chocolate, that’s ok, too…
The team at Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus (NeuhausChocolate.com) has tapped a panel of experts from Gault & Millau Restaurant Guide to develop a Scotch pairing guide to accompany this famous Belgian chocolate maker’s signature pralines. Curated after taste-testing the entire Neuhaus catalogue, the new “When Neuhaus Meets Single Malt Whisky” collection is made up of 12 Neuhaus pralines and 10 Carré individually wrapped tasting squares. The chocolates are presented in an elegant whisky brown and silver gift box, including a large 84-piece set for $90 or a smaller 24-piece box of just pralines for $40. The collection is designed to pair perfectly with Auchentoshan Three Wood and Bowmore Darkest 15 Years Scotch whiskies, selected by the panel following a tour of the finest distilleries in Scotland. Valentine’s Day the perfect time to cozy up with a box of Neuhaus pralines and fine Scotch, or you can try them with your favorite sherry, port, cognac, rum or wine.
The Moonstruck Chocolate Company 12-piece Oregon Distillers Collection is available online (MoonstruckChocolate.com) and in the four Moonstruck Chocolate Cafés in Oregon, expanding on the popular line of spirits-infused truffles with four new flavors from Oregon’s finest craft distillers. The Oregon Distillers Collection is available as single truffles and as a complete 12-piece boxed collection; suggested retail price is $2.50 individually or $25 for the boxed collection. Moonstruck Chocolate Co. creates its signature artisan chocolate confections from its main location at the foot of the historic St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Sourcing superior quality cocoa and incorporating the finest and freshest ingredients from the Pacific Northwest and beyond, Moonstruck creates confections that delight the senses and nourish the imagination. Each piece is crafted, decorated and packaged by hand, providing a unique chocolate experience every time.
Adult Milk and Cookies
Milk: Nutty Delight
- 1 1/2 oz. Captain Morgan Rum
- 2 oz. Gingerbread Simple Syrup
- 3/4 oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream
- 1 oz. Whole Milk Nutmeg (for garnish)
Preparation: Combine all ingredients, except nutmeg, into a mixing glass and shake. Double strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
Cookies: Hazelnut Sandies
- 3/4 c. All Purpose Flour
- 2/3 c. Hazelnut Flour
- 1/3 c. Cornstarch
- 1/2 c. Butter (1 stick / room temperature)
- 2/3 c. Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1 Egg Yolk (large)
- 1/4 tsp. Candied Ginger (chopped)
- 1/4 tsp. Orange Zest
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Measure and pour flour out onto a baking sheet. Place in oven and “toast” the flour. Occasionally move the flour around on the sheet, so that it toasts evenly. Leave in oven for about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Cream butter, sugar and orange zest together in a large mixing bowl. Add the cornstarch, flour, hazelnut flour, chopped candied ginger, egg yolk and continue mixing. The dough will be very crumbly!
- Place a sheet of waxed paper on a table. Press the dough together to form a ball. Then press the dough onto the waxed paper. Carefully flatten it down to about 1/2 inch.
- Keep it dough in freezer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take dough out from freezer use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.
- Bake cookies on baking sheet for 15 – 20 minutes at 275°.
- Once cool, sprinkle powdered sugar for garnish.