A Salty & Chocolatey Valentine’s Manhattan Cocktail

Here’s a Valentine’s Day Chocolate Manhattan recipe that upholds all the ideals of the classic cocktail, but with a complex chocolaty twist. This is for anyone whose perfect Valentine’ Day involves wooing their loved one with a top-notch cocktail that harbors within it an irresistible threefold seduction.

As with any recipe, the quality of each ingredient makes all the difference.  Here we call for the fabulously herbaceous Vya Sweet Vermouth–the most luscious of readily available of sweet vermouths (Carpano Antica is a more pungently delicate alternative)–and Robert Lambert’s Dark Cherries soaked in Merlot–the best around.  Choosing the bitters for this cocktail is a tougher task.  Fee Brother’s Aztec Chocolate Bitters is a passable option, but Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters is profound and stirring. Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters is opulent and lush, Bitter End’s Mexican Mole Bitters is spicy and a bit wild.  This recipe calls for my own Chocolate Fleur de Sel along the rim to set a sizzle of saltiness against the lips.

Ingredients for one serving:
2 oz Bourbon or Rye (approximately one shot)
1 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes Chocolate Bitters
1 Robert Lambert Dark Cherry soaked in Merlot, plus a few drops of the cherry juice

Bitterman’s Chocolate Fleur de Sel for the rim

To prepare the glasses:
Chill each glass
Dip the rim in vermouth and coat with chocolate salt
Place one cherry in the bottom of each glass

To mix the drink:
Mix the bourbon, vermouth, bitters and cherry juice. Stir, then immediately pour and serve; be sure to breathe in deeply, savoring the chocolate-spice aroma before imbibing. Prepare for an outbreak of adoration.

2 Responses to “A Salty & Chocolatey Valentine’s Manhattan Cocktail”

  1. on 05 Mar 2011 at 6:31 pmMostly About Chocolate Blog

    I’m having trouble with the chocolate bitters – could I make this somehow with cream de cacao?

  2. on 20 Apr 2011 at 12:59 pmMark Bitterman

    You certainly could use creme de cacao. However, you’re going to end up with one very sweet drink, especially with the cherry and cherry juice. The bitter element from the chocolate bitters brings an extra dimension to the cocktail that you can’t really emulate. I say give it a try with a little creme de cacao but leave out the cherry stuff. It’ll be a very different drink, but it’s worth a shot!

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