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. Bitter End 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.