Tuesday, March 13, 2007

We've got a sweet tooth for chocolate vodka

Chocolate vodka is something we've been wanting to create for a long time, but haven't quite been sure how to do it. For a long time, we intended to infuse cocoa beans in vodka, but they proved fiendishly difficult to find, and several of our readers have suggested that cocoa bean infused vodka wouldn't taste very good anyway, since the beans are bitter without sugar and vanilla additives. We also considered creating a solution, rather than an infusion, much like our caramel vodka, but never followed through with it.

Recently, however, our friend The Vodka God created his own chocolate vodka (see his initial post and the results). He created the chocolate solution by dissolving a confection known as Ice Cubes, which are apparently designed to melt under anything warmer than a sharp glance, into vodka. He likes the way it turned out, but we Mad Scienticians continue to wonder, could this work with a more "genuine" chocolate?

We decided to give it a try. We acquired a Lindt chocolate bar with an 85% cocoa content; we hope that the remaining 15% will contain just enough sugar, vanilla, and whatnot to prevent an overly bitter vodka, while giving it the richness of fine chocolate. If the vodka is too bitter on completion, we can always add some additional sugar. The real question, however, is whether the chocolate will dissolve at all; it is much richer and heavier than Ice Cubes or caramels.

We sampled the chocolate bar in its natural form first. It is much less sweet than we are used to from chocolate; Wayland did not enjoy it at all, while I noticed a gradual build-up of sweetness with each bite.

We broke the chocolate into small pieces, dividing each square into fourths. The more surface area is exposed, the faster it should dissolve.

Once the vodka and chocolate were sealed in the jar, we shook the jar vigorously, and continued to do so periodically for the next few hours. This is what it looked like after approximately 2-3 hours:

It appears that the chocolate is dissolving, albeit slowly. This will certainly take longer than the caramel vodka or The Vodka God's experiment, but we hope to have a viable chocolate vodka by the weekend.

Tomorrow, we will be posting yet another status update on our coconut vodka experiment, and several repeat infusions.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking about the chocolate vodka for a while too, and realized that cocoa beans would be bad. I thought about trying it with every day Hershey's, but that's just not quality.

I look forward to hearing how this turns out. If it's good I'll probably do it myself. You guys are a great inspiration!

Morgana said...

Alcohol should act as a natural solvent for the chocolate, however, I'm concerned about it's ability to dissolve the fat.

Have you considered making a chocolate solution in a double boiler (vodka chocolate syrup) then combining with more vodka?

Brendan said...

That's an interesting idea. Our lab isn't stocked with a double boiler, but we may look for one if this experiment doesn't work well.

Gabú said...

Hmmm. The problem is the fatty stuff, right?
There are vegan dark chocolates that might work better and yet are still sweetish (on that note - 85%? YECH. That stuff tastes like chalk. Best to stop at around 70%. And I love me some dark chocolate. I just can't deal with it that dark, though...)
Anyway, look em up.

Scott said...

As long as you have a stainless steel (or Pyrex glass) bowl and a pot that is smaller-enough for the bowl to sit atop of and seal the opening, you've got a double boiler. Just fill the pot with an inch or so of water, not enough to touch the bottom of the bowl, and bring to a boil, then set the bowl on top. It doesn't have to seal completely, but as long as the bottom of the bowl is getting hit with the steam, you've got a double-boiler. Just make sure you don't get water in the chocolate, or it will seize up and become grainy..

Davjohn said...

My suggestion would be to try either the Lindt 70% or the Semi-Sweet Ghirardelli baking chocolate bits. You don't have a double boiler, but I'm sure a microwave isn't far away. Put the chocolate in a plastic or pyrex container. (Pyrex is better. It won't leach flavors or a micro-chemistry set.) Microwave on 50% for 1½ minutes, stir, let cool, then again on 50% for 1½ minutes, stir, let cool, then again on 50% for 1½ minutes, stir. Stir the warm chocolate into your room temp vodka.

You may have to experiment. An option is the "tempering" technique. Stir warm vodka into the chocolate until it is thin enough to pour, then stir into the rest of the vodka.

I would suggest storing in a wide-mouth pitcher until you are sure you don't need to stir to serve after it has set for a while.