Let’s celebrate National Chocolate Day with a truly decadent drink, a chocolate pomegranate Manhattan. I’m calling it “In the Pom of Your Hand.” With chocolate-dipped rims, a garnish of dark chocolate and pomegranate arils, and Ballotin’s Original Chocolate Whiskey it’s a dessert in a glass. The tart, sweet taste of the pomegranate holds its own against the chocolate whiskey and the bourbon, creating a play of tart and sweet where the garnish puts chocolate ahead as the winner.
While this post is sponsored by Ballotin Whiskey, I use Ballotin whiskies in many cocktails regularly. It’s a wonderful product I love to use in combination with bourbon and rye cocktails.
About Ballotin Whiskey
Ballotin Whiskey got its start in Louisville working with the industry giant Flavorman to create a line of flavored whiskies. Of course, being from Louisville, there’s a plethora of Brown-Forman experience with co-owner Paul Tuell to create a flavored whiskey that’s approachable to whiskey newbies and interesting for bourbon enthusiasts alike. By carefully choosing the sourced whiskey at its base, the Ballotin line aims to keep a whiskey flavor while building on those flavors with additions like chocolate, bourbon ball and mint.
It’s a fine line, but the flavored whiskies they produce are not overly sweet and work wonders in cocktails to add whiskey and sweet flavors together. In fact, they’re so good, you could just drink them over ice as a cocktail themselves. Ballotin makes a full line of flavors, including Caramel Turtle, Bourbon Ball, Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry Cream and Chocolate Mocha Cream. But, let’s focus on the original: Ballotin Original Chocolate.
So, let’s talk chocolate pomegranate Manhattans.
What’s in a Manhattan?
The traditional Manhattan is an old cocktail. No one really knows where it originated, but we do know that it’s related to both the Martini and the Martinez cocktails. Instead of focusing on gin as in those two cocktails, a Manhattan’s base spirit is whiskey. Early Manhattans used rye, as it was a more popular spirit at the time, but today you’re as likely to find bourbon as rye in your Manhattan.
The common ingredients of a Manhattan are whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. The ratios vary a bit, but hover around the 2 oz of whiskey to 1 oz of sweet vermouth. Bitters are always needed in a classic Manhattan to temper the sweetness of the vermouth.
For more information on the classic Manhattan, its history and the basics of creating the classic, head to my article How to Make a Classic Manhattan
While a traditional Manhattan uses whiskey, bitters and vermouth to create a classy, whiskey-focused cocktail, in this dessert Manhattan, we’ll use pomegranate with its tart, sweet taste to stand in for the vermouth, while the bourbon and Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey together creates a decadent cocktail.
Using Pomegranate and Chocolate in a Cocktail
For this cocktail, we’re combining that tart, sweet pomegranate juice (with its lovely dark red color) with a bit of bourbon and a healthy dose of our Ballotin Original Chocolate. The combination of pomegranate and chocolate reminds me a bit of cranberries and chocolate. Both pairings put the tartness of the fruit against the sweet earthiness of chocolate.
Pomegranate juice sweetens the deal, so not much is needed. Just enough to add a little acidity to the cocktail. The Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey has dark cocoa notes to match its sweet whiskey overtone, but its flavors impart vanilla, faint caramel and just a touch of cinnamon when tasted on its own.
How to Make a Chocolate Pomegranate Manhattan
Because we’re using fruit juice in the form of pomegranate juice, we’ll shake this cocktail – something not normally done for Manhattans. Combine the whiskey, Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey, bitters, and pomegranate juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into chilled coupe glasses prepared with chocolate dipped rims.
How to Garnish a Chocolate Pomegranate Manhattan
Answer: with as much chocolate as you possibly can. This cocktail wouldn’t be a pre-dinner drink. It’s more likely to be a cocktail you sip on after dinner or during dessert. With as much chocolate as I used as a garnish, it’s more likely that it is dessert.
For this indulgence, I dipped the rims in melted chocolate and let them cool while I made the cocktail. To make the cocktail’s dark red color pop, I added a small square of dark chocolate and a few fresh arils of pomegranate.
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You probably already have these, but you may need them, too:
Chocolate Pomegranate Manhattan
- 1 oz bourbon whiskey
- 1.25 oz Ballotin Original Chocolate Whiskey
- 0.75 oz pomegranate juice
- 12 drops Xocolotl mole bitters (Bittermen's Brand)
- 16 drops Old Forester smoked cinnamon bitters
- Garnish: melted chocolate rim on coupe glass, fresh pomegranate arils
- Combine whiskey, Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey, pomegranate juice and bitters in a shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds and strain into a coupe glass with a chocolate rim.