A chocolate martini is basically a rich, creamy liquid dessert in a glass. It’s easy to make at home, but difficult to resist a second helping.
The simplest versions call for only vodka and chocolate liqueur or crème de cacao, while more robust recipes also include Irish liqueur, chocolate syrup, and/or vanilla simple syrup.
I’ve chosen an approach that’s right in the middle to a create a well-balanced chocolaty drink that doesn’t require a degree in mixology.
Who Invented the Chocolate Martini?
Most cocktails have origins with professional bartenders, but the chocolate martini was invented by classic movie star Rock Hudson.
In his memoir, Rock Hudson: His Story, Hudson explains how he and Elizabeth Taylor lived near one another while filming Giant in Texas in 1955. The two became close friends and they both had a love for chocolate and martinis.
One evening they decided to add chocolate syrup and chocolate liqueur to a vodka martini. Thus, the chocolate martini was born and has endured ever since as a popular dessert cocktail. It is a staple at martini bars and is consumed as an alternative to champagne or berry cocktails on Valentine’s Day.
This recipe contains two different types of chocolate alcohol. Though you could use just one, it’s the combination that provides a well-rounded chocolate flavor and a texture that has moderate viscosity and coats the tongue lightly.
The first, chocolate liqueur, is a thick, syrupy, very sweet spirit. The second, crème de cacao, is a thinner consistency, chocolate bean flavored spirit that has vanilla notes throughout.
Both chocolate liqueur and crème de cacao are available in dark and light varieties. For the purpose of a chocolate martini, either variety would work. As can be expected, the darker varieties will yield a dark brown and chocolate colored cocktail while the lighter versions will give you a milkier, more pale colored drink.
- The vodka: A decent quality middle shelf vodka such as Tito’s works well, but if you have a top shelf choice such as Belvedere, Chopin, or Grey Goose on hand, that’s even better. You can use a vanilla vodka if preferred, but that will add even more sweetness to the drink.
- The chocolate liqueur: Godiva is the standard.
- The crème de cacao: DeKuyper’s is the easiest to find, but artisanal brands such as Tempus Fugit or Fair will have higher quality ingredients and a smoother finish.
To make a chocolate martini, you’ll need a cocktail shaker with a strainer and a martini glass. If you have a jumbo-sized martini glass, as dessert martinis are often served in, you can double the recipe for a single serving.
This cocktail is typically garnished with a chocolate accoutrement. The two most common garnishes are chocolate syrup or grated chocolate.
I’ve included instructions for both but encourage you to choose just one. Otherwise, the drink may end up too sweet.
More Decadent Chocolate Cocktail Recipes
- Brandy Alexander Cocktail
- Chocolate Sidecar
- Chocolate Lark Cocktail (Low-Proof)
- White Russian Cocktail
- For the garnish
- 1 ounce chocolate syrup or 1/2 ounce grated chocolate
- For the cocktail
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1 ounce chocolate liqueur
- 1 ounce crème de cacao
- 1 ounce half and half or heavy cream
Prepare the garnish:
You can skip the garnish altogether or just sprinkle a few chocolate shavings on top of the finished drink, but you can also get a little fancy.
To garnish with chocolate syrup: Hold the martini glass at an angle. Tip the chocolate syrup bottle upside down with the nozzle pointing on the inside of the glass.
Squeeze a thin stream of chocolate syrup around the inside of the martini glass while rotating the glass. The syrup will stick to the sides of the glass once the drink is poured into it.
To garnish with grated chocolate: Place the grated chocolate onto a small plate. To another small plate add 2 tablespoons of water.
Dip the lip of the martini glass into the water to wet the rim of the glass.
Then, dip the martini glass lip into the grated chocolate, rolling it around to cover the edges of the glass rim.
Make the cocktail:
Add the vodka, chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao, and half and half into the cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
Strain into a garnished martini glass and serve.