Homemade flavored alcohols are easy to make. And here's how to make just one of an infinity of variations. You might like to enjoy this before, after, or during a meal of Cacao Nib Crusted Steaks .
Step 1: Needed
* 7.5 oz alcohol such as Everclear or Golden Grain
* 20 oz of cooled simple syrup --- equal portions of sugar and water, heated so that the sugar dissolves, then cooled
* A funnel and strainer; this could be a funnel lined with a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth. I happen to have access to funnels used to collect kidney stones from urine . . . they're clean I swear.
* A pint mason jar and lid
* 1 1" piece of vanilla bean (optional, but I did it this time)
* An empty container for the finished product (here, an emptied liqueur bottle with the label removed)
Step 2: Throw It Together
Step 3: The Long Wait
Don't mind the cloudiness, that's just nib dust.
Step 4: Bottling
If you have a fat separator in your kitchen you could pour the whole mess (after the nibs have been removed) into that and then toss it into the fridge. The cacao butter might solidify enough to stay put when you pour it out. Then you could think up uses for it.
* Strain away the liquid from the nibs
* Put the cacao flavored alcohol into the final bottle
* Top the bottle off with the simple syrup and mix ( In this case I dissolved 10 ounces of sugar with about 13 ounces of water)
* Then let it sit for a while. How long? A few days. A week. A year. Whatever. Some will say that it gets better with age, and it certainly may. Age it as long as you wish.
Step 5: Misc.
Adjust the flavor if you need to. There's no shame in making bad booze. It happens. Taste it. If it's not up to your standards, then adjust it with vanilla extract or cacao extract. Heck, even add things like mint or citrus extracts. Add more sugar (in the form of simple syrup). Add more alcohol. Whatever you need to do to make it your own is the way to go.
Step 6: Uses
2 oz brandy
1 oz cacao liqueur
1.5 oz cream or half-and-half
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Put all ingredients, except nutmeg into a shaker filled with ice. Shake, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with nutmeg.
1 oz green mint liqueur (or whichever mint liqueur you prefer, obviously from the pictures above I prefer spearmint)
1 oz cacao liqueur
1 oz cream
Put all into a shaker filled with ice. Shake, strain into a cocktail glass, garish with mint sprig.
I know it's called a grasshopper because it's green, but I don't care for the artificially colored liqueurs. It's just not necessary . . . but it does add a dramatic flare. Use your own judgment.
1/2 oz cacao liqueur
1 tsp sugar*
Sparkling wine (not a sweet one! Use brut, extra dry, prosecco, or cava).
1/2 oz other liqueurs such as Cointreaux, Frangelico, or whatever sounds good.
Mix the sugar and liqueur(s) in the bottom of a champagne flute (don't worry, not all of it will dissolve; if you're OCD you could shake them in a cocktail shaker and it might). Top off with sparkling wine. Serve with a good chocolate bar.
* For the love of all things sacred, make your own powdered bar sugar. Take a cup or two of sugar for a spin in a blender and keep it in the sealed jar behind your bar. NEVER USE POWDERED SUGAR FROM THE STORE. Cornstarch in a drink is for the birds, no matter how little there is of it.