Chocolate Orange Cocktail – Revive the mystery of the orange with this simple, yet elegant cocktail that marries the traditional holiday flavors of chocolate and orange with yuletide éclat.
In an age before the days of commercial farming and fast, global shipping, an orange was a very special treat – especially on a winter’s day in the northeastern United States where I live. For the lucky recipient, it was a juicy, golden ball of sunshine from a faraway land of warmth and welcome. In those days, the fruit was truly celebrated.
In 19th century America, oranges were most commonly given as a gift at Christmastime, filling the toes of stockings hung by the fireplace with care. They were most often accompanied by walnuts, almonds, and other shelled nuts, which would have been viewed as a special treat at the time. Many still carry on this tradition today.
Alas, as the amaranthine drumbeat of time marches on, we’ve come to take the widespread availability of winter treats such as oranges and clementines for granted. With that in mind, this holiday season I present to you a simple cocktail that celebrates the orange along with another traditional holiday flavor – dark chocolate.
This cocktail is very similar to the White Lady but ditches the lemon juice in favor of orange bitters. The dusting of chocolate shavings not only provides a festive appearance but also creates a unique and delightful drinking experience as well. The chocolate will remain firm while sitting on the surface of the drink, but instantly melts in your mouth as you take a sip – and this is most definitely a “sipping” type of drink. To enhance this effect, use a microplaner to create your chocolate shavings.
For this fragrant libation, be sure to use quality dark chocolate that’s at least 60% cacao. It also helps to use a top shelf orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Hopefully you still have some left after making Rachel’s chocolate-dipped orange shortbread cookies.
As you’re enjoying this seasonal treat, give a nod to the now-humble orange and remember that they were once not so easy to acquire. Consider the mystery that surrounded such a gift in the past, when it was impossible to just go out to the corner store and buy one. Imagine those far-away places where the tropical sun shines brightly on the orange groves…
Happy Holidays from Simple Seasonal!
- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- 4 dashes orange bitters (I used Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6)
- Dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao)
- Twist of orange for garnish (optional)
- Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ full with ice
- Add the gin, Cointreau, and orange bitters
- Stir or shake for at least 30 seconds to ensure the drink is well chilled*
- Strain into a cocktail glass
- Using a microplaner, cover the top of the drink with chocolate shavings
- Garnish with a thin twist of orange in the center of the glass