If you've never tried mezcal, it should definitely be on your list, especially if you like tequila. Tequila is actually a type of mezcal, but most non-tequila mezcals are a little smokier, with a stronger overall flavor. I wanted to see how it paired with chocolate, and I was really happy with how well this Mezcal Chocolate Cherry cocktail turned out.
Chocolate in cocktails is kind of a delicate balance. If you go overboard, you're really just making a dessert in a glass. Which, obviously, I have no problem with. But for this particular drink, I wanted it to be less sweet to let the cocoa and the smoky mezcal flavors come through.
Fat Washed Rum
In order to get some deep cocoa flavor into the drink, I fat washed rum with a mix of melted butter and cocoa powder. Fat washing sounds kind of weird if you haven't heard of it before, but basically you mix liquid fat with alcohol and let it sit in the refrigerator. The fat gives the alcohol flavor, but also mellows and smooths it out.
If that sounds cool to you, check out this Serious Eats article about the science of fat washing!
I think most people in the U.S. associate the word "maraschino" with those neon-red, super sweet cherries that you always get in a Shirley Temple. In fact, maraschino liqueur is totally different. It is made from cherries, but that's where the similarities end.
The cherry you see in this cocktail is a REAL maraschino cherry! They are dark-colored, and they taste magnificent, no food coloring or high fructose corn syrup in sight. The Luxardo company in Italy is famous for their maraschino liqueur and cherries.
Making the Mezcal Chocolate Cherry Cocktail
Since this is a spirit-forward cocktail, without any citrus or fruit juices to alter the taste of the alcohol, it's best to make this as a stirred drink. Just combine the mezcal, maraschino liqueur, cocoa infused rum, and chocolate bitters in a cocktail stirring glass, along with ice. Then stir to dilute, and strain into an old fashioned glass over a fresh ice cube.
For garnish, I added a Luxardo brand maraschino cherry on a cocktail pick. I also rimmed part of the glass with a mix of cocoa powder and sugar, stuck on using the syrup from the cherries.
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Mezcal Chocolate Cherry Cocktail
- Old Fashioned cocktail glass
- Cocktail stirring glass
- Cocktail strainer
- Mix the cocoa powder and sugar together and place in a shallow dish.
- Put syrup from the maraschino cherries onto part of the rim of the old fashioned glass, and roll that part of the glass into the cocoa powder mixture. I used a paintbrush that I keep only for food to put the syrup on. Set the glass aside.
- Add the mezcal, maraschino liqueur, cocoa-infused rum and bitters into a cocktail stirring glass. Add ice and stir for a minute to dilute the drink.
- Add a large piece of ice to the old fashioned glass. The size will help it to melt more slowly.
- Strain the drink from the stirring glass over top of the fresh ice in the old fashioned glass.
- Place a maraschino cherry on a cocktail pick and add it to the glass for garnish.