I’m fortunate that a friend, Mark Spivak, has written a book called Iconic Spirits due out in November. What is even better is his willingness to share recipes and information with us. You can learn more about Mark and Iconic Spirits at the end of the article. Here are four wonderful recipes for chocolate martinis.

I recently did some research on chocolate martinis for a major women’s magazine. I won’t tell you the name of the publication, but it’s sold in the supermarket check-out line. 95% of the readers are female; roughly half are employed full-time outside the home, nearly half have children, and one-third are working mothers. The magazine wanted to examine the premise that a chocolate martini was a relaxing and pampering indulgence that a woman could give to herself at the end of a long, hard day.

I began by looking at recipes for the classics—basic chocolate, white chocolate, Godiva, chocolate mint, etc. Not surprisingly, there were numerous versions for each drink, and they were all radically different from one another. Then, seeking inspiration, I looked at creations from “famous” mixologists.

The recipes from the mixologists were hideous. For one thing, they were unnecessarily complex—it was unlikely that the average consumer would attempt them, much less working mothers at the end of a long day. They also contained a number of exotic ingredients that would be difficult to find and expensive to buy. To make a chocolate martini, most people would already have to purchase a few items not likely stocked in their home bar (chocolate vodka, vanilla vodka, Godiva liqueur, etc.). Why scour the neighborhood searching for Peychaud’s Bitters, orgeat syrup and Luxuardo Maraschino liqueur? And who the hell would put bitters in a chocolate martini anyway? As I read these dispatches from a parallel universe, I was reminded of Drew Nieporent’s recent rant about the cocktails with 19 ingredients, made two at a time by bartenders with 40 people standing in line behind you.

I decided to collate different recipes for each drink, and fiddle with them until I got them right. I settled on Van Gogh Dark Chocolate Vodka, because I had it in the house and I believe it’s the gold standard in chocolate vodka anyway. I went out and purchased vanilla vodka, white crème de cacao, white crème de menthe, miniatures of regular and white Godiva chocolate liqueur, dusted off the cocktail shaker, and relied on my instincts. I got two of them on the first try, while the other two required several attempts. Modesty aside, they were delicious—not my first choice of a cocktail, certainly, but I could see where they would have their place.

Even in its chocolate version, there’s something sexy and alluring about a martini. It beckons to us from the top of an inverted pyramid, the surface shimmering like a morning lake. As we clutch the stem and balance the bowl so that not a drop is lost, we cross the line from dilettante to drinker. The chocolate martini is indeed a luxurious, indulgent experience, a reward at the end of a hard day, a treat for the adult sweet tooth, combining a rich texture with a spicy, alcoholic edge.

Basic Chocolate Martini

3 parts Van Gogh Dark Chocolate vodka, 1 part Creme de Cacao (white)

Coat the rim of a Martini glass with chocolate syrup or bittersweet powdered chocolate. Chill the glass.
Combine the vodka and Creme de Cacao in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into the glass.

White Chocolate Martini

1 oz. Stoli Vanil
1 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
.5 oz. Creme de Cacao (white)
1 oz. Half and Half

Drizzle the sides of a martini glass with chocolate syrup.
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into the glass.
Garnish with white chocolate shavings and fresh raspberries (optional)

Milk Chocolate Martini

1 oz. Van Gogh Dark Chocolate Vodka
1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
.5 oz. Creme de Cacao (white)
1 oz Half and Half

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into a frosted martini glass.
Garnish with a Hershey’s Kiss

(Note: I’m specifically calling this Milk Chocolate because it differs from most versions of the Godiva Chocolate Martini)

Chocolate Mint Martini

2 oz. Van Gogh Dark Chocolate Vodka
.5 oz. Creme de Cacao (white)
.5 oz. Creme de menthe (white)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into a frosted Martini glass.
Garnish with a candy cane.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, by Mark Spivak, will be published in November by Lyons press (Globe Pequot). Writing in an engaging and appealing style, Spivak chronicles the untold tales of 12 spirits that changed the world and forged the cocktail culture. While some are categories and others are specific brans, they are “the best kinds of stories—the type a writer could never make up.”

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Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the restaurant critic for Palm Beach Illustrated. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Ritz-Carlton, Continental, Art & Antiques, Newsmax, Dream of Italy and Arizona Highways. From 1999-2011 he hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Mark began writing Iconic Spirits after becoming fascinated with the untold stories behind the world’s greatest liquors. As a writer, he’s always searching for the unknown details that make his subject compelling and unique.

You can learn more about Mark at http://www.iconicspirits.net/index.htm