Hello fellow chocoholics and spicy food addicts! We’re in the middle of the holidays at the time of writing, right in that magical period between Christmas and New Years’ Eve. As it feels almost illegal to do anything useful during this time, I figured there’s no better moment to post a cocktail recipe.
I’m visiting at my folks’ house and found some cheap vodka in their liquor cabinet. Since I’m – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – a little tired of hot chocolate at this point, I figured I’d make an icy cold but somehow equally warming cocktail.
How? By infusing some vodka with smoky chipotle peppers and combining the end result with a rich chocolate cream liqueur, of course. And what a perfect winter treat this is!
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to make this festive chili chocolate cocktail with a kick.Jump to Recipe
Chili Chocolate Cocktail Ingredients & Substitutions
- Chocolate liqueur. I went for crème liqueur, but since we’ll also be using some plant-based milk for this recipe, you can also go for one without cream. As an added bonus, doing so will allow you to make this recipe vegan if that’s your thing!
- Dried chili peppers. The great thing is that you can use your favorite type based on your spice tolerance; I went for smoked chipotle (dried jalapeño) to give the final result a nice smoky flavor.
You can also just toss in a dash of cayenne if you don’t have dried chilis on hand, or use some fresh chili instead.
- Vodka. It makes the perfect choice due to its neutral flavor, but tequila would also be an option if you prefer it. Or go for mezcal to amp up the smokiness!
- Plant-based milk. This is not a must, but I like it for various reasons. Most importantly, it lightens the strong flavors of the cocktail a little and adds a light nutty flavor. Try oat (my weapon of choice), almond or hazelnut milk for a nice extra touch.
- Orange peel. Oranges go fantastically with chocolate. They also go fantastically with spiciness and chili peppers. So this one’s a no-brainer!
For garnish, keep a little sugar and cayenne powder on hand to rim the glasses. You can also use anything from grated chocolate to cocoa powder, orange zest or some orange peel curls to make your chili chocolate cocktails look extra nice.
In terms of equipment, all you need is a cocktail shaker, strainer and some ice. And although you can of course drink any cocktail out of any receptacle, I do like a nice martini glass for this one!
For an amazing chili chocolate cocktail, skip the cayenne powder and fresh chilis. Instead, take a minute the night before you want to prepare these drinks and make a DIY chipotle-infused vodka! The end result is a pleasant brownish red in color with a wonderfully smoky and fiery flavor.
Basically, you want to add around 1 chipotle pepper per 3oz (2 shots, which makes 2 cocktails) of vodka. I did this by pouring the vodka into a small jar, adding the peppers and then putting the whole thing in the fridge.
If you forgot to steep the vodka yesterday, you can still do so today, as a good bit of flavor is released within a few hours. To get more of the spice out, you may have to muddle the pepper a bit harder when time comes to make the cocktails, though.
Tip: Chipotle-infused vodka and vodkas infused with other chili peppers exist. If you’ve got a bottle of one of those on hand, you may go ahead and skip the infusing process if you wish!
Chili Chocolate Cocktail Recipe
Chili Chocolate Cocktail
- 1 cocktail shaker with strainer
- 1 cocktail muddler or use the back of a wooden spoon
- 2 martini glasses
- 1 smoked chipotle or 2 if you want more spice
- 3 oz vodka mid-range works well
- 1 orange
- 3 oz chocolate cream liqueur
- 6 oz plant-based milk I used oat milk
- ice to shake
- 1 tbsp white sugar for the rim
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder for the rim
- The night before, or at least a few hours before, place the vodka in a glass or jar and add the chipotle to infuse it.
- Once time comes to make your drinks, remove a thin, 2" piece of peel from the orange. Also slice a wedge of orange.
- Place sugar and cayenne on a small plate. Run the orange wedge along the rim of the martini glasses to moisten. Rim the glasses by pressing them into the sugar, tossing carefully to coat. Set aside.
- Fish the chipotle from the vodka and taste the infusion. If the vodka is already very spicy for your taste, you can discard the pepper and bash the orange peel on its own to release its fragrance. If you want more spice, muddle the chipotle in the cocktail shaker along with the orange peel.
- Add the vodka, chocolate liqueur, plant-based milk and ice to the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
- Carefully strain your chili chocolate cocktail into the martini glasses. Remove two more 1" pieces of peel from the orange, roll them up between your fingers and place them on the glass rims for garnish.
- Drink responsibly. Cheers!
If you have any more questions about making this chili chocolate cocktail for your next gathering with friends or if you want to share your own experiences, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!