1 1/2 Brandy [Copper and Kings]
3/4 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
1/2 oz Becherovka
1/4 oz Allspice Dram [St. Elizabeth]
Prepare hot chocolate in a mug, add in the above and stir. Top with Allpsice Dram Whipped cream (whip heavy cream and add a splash of Allspice Dram). Sprinkle with chile powder and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
When I first did the bottle swap with Garnish Girl and got some Ancho Reyes, I couldn’t resist combining it with Kummel in The Pope of Chili Town. Since then, I’ve thought about other traditional pairings with chiles, and the classic mole sauce caught my interest. Chiles and chocolate combine to form a rich, spicy flavor. Depending on the recipe, there are anise, cloves, allspice, and various other spices in there as well. Could this translate to cocktail form? This idea was already kicking around in my head, and then along comes Katie at Garnish Blog with the latest Mixology Monday theme – chocolate. It’s clearly fate.
The question remained, how should I get chocolate into the drink. Sure I could, I could go with chocolate liqueur or chocolate bitters, but Mixology Monday is a time to think outside the box. Then after my daughter’s ski lesson a few weeks ago it hit me. Every lesson ends with lunch in the lodge followed by hot chocolate. There it is, this is going to be a boozy, hot drink.
I wanted the base spirit to have a touch of sweetness, but not overpower the other flavors, so I grabbed my bottle of Copper and Kings brandy. This is now a staple in my bar, and it didn’t take long. For the longest time, E&J was the pretty much the best you could get at the liquor store at a reasonable price. This bottle was serviceable enough, but I wouldn’t say its flavors were particularly complex. I wondered why there weren’t more options in that category, especially with all the craft distillers popping up producing various rums, gins, vodkas, etc. Then along came Cooper and Kings, based out of Kentucky. They are a small craft distillery focusing on brandy (they also have unaged version, an apple version, and absinthe). Even better, they age their brandy in used bourbon barrels, which really grabbed my attention. As soon as I saw a bottle on the shelf, I picked it up. It has been in my bar ever since.
As a whiskey lover, I was excited to have another brown spirit to choose from. Unlike whiskey, brandy is distilled from grapes instead of malts, so there is a subtle fruitiness there in addition to some of the toffee and roastiness I love in bourbon. Plus, there are many classic drinks that use brandy (ever heard of a little drink calledthe Sidecar?) and the Copper and Kings has bold enough flavors to stand up to some proper mixing.
Which brings us back to the Bandy Alejandro. Brandy brings some sweetness to compliment the hot chocolate, and still has toasted, smoky notes that align with the chile liqueur. Some Becherovka brings in a bit of cinnamon, while Allspice dram lifts everything out of the earthiness with some more floral notes.
This drink will absolutely help you step up your hygge game, so I hope it snows here very soon. Sweet, spicy, earthy, with just enough alcohol bite to let you know it’s there. After a few sips, I realized the final product was more like a cross between a mole and a chocolate cookie made with chili powder, and that’s not really a bad thing. Another way to look at it is that it’s a hot, spiced up version of the Brandy Alexander. Since I’m using the Ancho Reyes in there, I decided to go with a Spanish twist on that classic for the name.
Thanks to Katie for a wonderful theme that I’m sure we’ll all revisit soon enough with Valentine’s day around the corner. And as always, a nod to Frederic Yarm for keeping this cyber party alive!