Chocolate and ginger aren’t a frequent pairing, but after tasting this Chocolate Ginger Manhattan they might become one for me. In the spirit of keeping to items I already having in the house and ones individuals might have in their own home bars, I wanted to do something with chocolate and ginger.
This is the second installment in the 5 Quarantine Manhattans series. You can find the previous one here: French Quarter Manhattan. I’ve also got a lovely series of Quarantine Old Fashioneds and Quarantine Whiskey Sours.
Ginger liqueur is often used in champagne cocktails, whiskey cocktails, and sometimes in gin cocktails. It’s a great tool to create a little extra spice and tang in a cocktail while increasing the sweetness. Ginger liqueurs differ widely and you may need to adjust the recipe below based on the flavor profile of your liqueur.
Some liqueurs lean more toward the sweet, candied ginger taste while others bring the spice and heat of ginger forward. There’s still a sweetness, but the bite of ginger is more apparent in the flavor. I’m using Cask and Crew’s ginger spice whiskey which is a nice balance of the two. It’s definitely sweet, but it’s also got a good bit of ginger’s bite to it.
One of the things that’s interesting when you pair chocolate and ginger is that both have earthy, bitter elements. In a way, the bite of ginger is mollified by the earthy, chocolatey taste of a dark chocolate liqueur. But the bitterness of a chocolate liqueur blends beautifully with the ginger liqueur.
If you’re wondering if this cocktail is for you, take a bite of a piece of candied ginger and dark chocolate together. Let them warm up a bit in your mouth and see what happens as you taste them. It’s a match that works better than I expected it to, and in a cocktail, it’s surprising.
I did add a little bit of Old Forester’s Smoked Cinnamon bitters, but you can omit it if you don’t have it. I loved the bitter-smoke-cinnamon flavor that’s just hinted at after a few sips.
When I first put the cocktail together, there was just a little something missing, and I realized that I needed just a teaspoon or bar spoon of simple syrup. The mouthfeel was a little thin without that extra bit of syrup to thicken and pull the cocktail together.
Chocolate Ginger Manhattan
- 1.5 oz bourbon
- ½ oz ginger liqueur (I used Cask and Crew Ginger Spice Whiskey)
- ½ oz crème de cacao or chocolate liqueur (don’t use a cream based liqueur)
- 1 dash Bitter Truth chocolate bitters
- 2 dash Hella ginger bitters
- 3 drops Old Forester Smoked Cinnamon bitters (optional)
- 1 bar spoon simple syrup
- Garnish: candied ginger and chocolate
- Combine bourbon, ginger, chocolate liqueur and bitters in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well-chilled – about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass and garnish with candied ginger and chocolate.