I thought it’d be relatively easy to DIY chocolate liqueur. Everything else I’ve tried has been simple, so chocolate should be too. WRONG. There are a TON of recipes on the Internet for homemade creme de cacao, some of which were obviously not tested to make sure that they can be replicated. UGH. It’s true that some things are a matter of taste (rum vs vodka, the addition of vanilla or orange). It’s also true that some things are NOT a matter of taste, and really, why would ANYONE make a liqueur out of cacao powder?
After a number of experiments, I’ve settled on a recipe that’s delightfully chocolatey, but also has a bit more interesting than just plain old vodka + cacao. This recipe has more steps than usual, but none of them are particularly difficult – just fastidious. It’s well worth the effort for chocolate liqueur that’s complex and rich.
DIY Chocolate Liqueur Recipe
- 1 1/2 c raw cacao nibs
- 2 split vanilla beans
- 1 3/4 c vodka
- 1 3/4 c brandy
- 2c cacao simple syrup
- Put the cacao nibs and vanilla in a 32 oz mason jar. Fill with equal parts brandy and vodka (1 3/4c is about right, but YMMV with the density of your cacao nibs).
- Let the mixture sit in a cool dark place for two weeks, shaking every day or so.
- After two weeks, strain out the cacao nibs, then boil the nibs with 1 1/2c water and 1 1/2c white sugar.
- Once the nibs and sugar syrup comes to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for ten minutes.
- Strain the cacao simple syrup to make it easier to measure.
- In a large bowl, mix the liquor, 2c of simple syrup, and the cacao nibs. Pour back into two 32 oz mason jars.
- Let the mixture sit in a cool dark place for a week, shaking every day or so.
- Strain the liqueur through a fine mesh sieve, then a coffee filter. It will be deliciously drinkable immediately, but will only improve after few weeks of settling to let the flavors mellow.