If you think chocolate whiskey sounds weird, it’s only because you haven’t had it yet! The two are classically eaten together (like wine and cheese, but with more hair-on-the-chest), but we were slightly apprehensive about the idea too. Would this be too sweet? Too heavy? Too cloying? The answer: no, no and no.
Kings County Chocolate Whiskey is a collaboration between two Brooklyn-based makers, Mast Brothers chocolatiers and Kings County Distillery. And it’s anything but gimmicky: the mashup is smooth and subtly sweet, with rounding hints of bitter cacao. Nothing saccharine or artificial about it – just darn fine whiskey with a creative twist.
Colin Spoelman, the founder of Kings County, started “unlawfully” distilling at home as a hobby. In 2010, he partnered with David Haskell to open the first legal whiskey distillery in New York City since Prohibition, while still working part-time at an architectural firm. Although they started as the smallest distillery in the country, they’re now in a beautiful space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (right around the corner from Mouth HQ) where they even have enough space to grow a small amount of grain.
Mast Brothers chocolatiers (founded by actual brothers Rick and Michael Mast) consistently puts out some of Brooklyn’s finest organic, fair-trade chocolate (wrapped in beautiful papers that make our art department swoon). They roast beans on trays the size of a home cookie sheet in small convention ovens, then remove the hulls and grind the beans into nibs.
This Chocolate Whiskey is made by steeping the roasted, leftover cacao husks from Mast Brothers’ chocolate-making in Kings County Moonshine. If the cacao husks were steeped in barrel-aged whiskey, we think it might have gone the sugar-rush route, but the unaged moonshine takes on the qualities of the cacao husks without becoming sickly sweet. Plus, there’s no added sugar! (And it comes in a super-cool glass flask, which we’re not mad about, either.)
This whiskey is great to sip on with dessert, but we also love trying it out in more traditional cocktails, like this Chocolate Old Fashioned: Muddle 1 teaspoon sugar with 2-4 dashes aromatic bitters. Add ice (preferably 1 large cube), then add 2 ounces Chocolate Whiskey. Garnish with a lemon twist or a Jack Rudy Cocktail Cherry.
If you want to get even crazier, try using Chocolate Whiskey in recipes that call for regular ole’ whiskey. Deglaze pans with it, use it in barbecue sauces, slow-cooker ribs, bread pudding, whiskey caramel apples…
Turns out, chocolate and whiskey really do belong together every which way.
(Is that some new chest hair we see?)