Hints of chocolate add holiday cheer
December is here, which means the holiday season is upon us. Time for cookies! And cocktails.
Or better yet, cookies with cocktails.
If that combo sounds odd, you need to try the Frostbite Cocktail. This drink is full of rich cream and chocolatey crème de cacao. So it fits right in with holiday baked goodies.
The surprise ingredient in this cocktail is tequila, a tough-guy liquor that few associate with dessert. But in the Frostbite, sweet cream mellows the bite of tequila—and chocolate turns it into Santa’s little helper.
So mix up a round of these for some festive cheer. Then raid the cookie jar.
Recipe: The Frostbite Cocktail
The Frostbite is essentially a tequila version of the Brandy Alexander Cocktail. But the Frostbite’s flavor is a bit sharper and brighter.
We found this drink while reading Robert Hess’s website. So of course we had to try it (and we’re glad we did).
This cocktail takes about 5 minutes to make, and serves one.
- 1 ounce tequila (white—blanco—is traditional, although reposado works too)
- ¾ ounce crème de cacao (we like the white version, but you can use brown instead; see Notes)
- ¾ ounce heavy cream (known as “double cream” in Britain)
- sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon for garnish (optional)
- Add all ingredients (except garnish) to a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake hard for at least 30 seconds (to chill the ingredients and allow the cream to froth).
- Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably once that’s been chilled). Garnish with a sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon, if desired, and serve.
|The Frostbite Cocktail is perfect for snowy weather!|
- Although we suppose you could serve the Frostbite as a before-dinner drink, we wouldn’t recommend it. Given its sweet flavor, we think it works better as an afternoon treat (preferably with cookies) or as an after-dinner drink.
- This recipe makes a fairly small drink by modern standards—about 3 ounces (including the water you add from melting ice when mixing the drink). You can double the recipe if you wish. But we’d elect to mix a second round if we wanted more—freshly made cocktails taste brighter than ones that have sat in the glass too long.
- If you find the tequila flavor too strong in this drink, just reduce the amount to ¾ ounce.
- Tequila is made from the agave plant (a kind of cactus), and the better ones are 100% agave. Cheaper tequilas are made with 51% agave (sugars are added in fermentation). Fermenting alcohol out of sugars isn’t unusual—that’s how rum is made, for example. But in the case of tequila, adding sugars results in a somewhat inferior liquor.
- Tequila is sold in four different aging categories: blanco, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo.
- Blanco (white) tequila is aged for up to 60 days. Its color makes it ideal for this drink.
- Reposado (which can be aged up to a year) has more flavor. But because it’s aged in oak barrels, reposado takes on a brownish color. Which means it won’t look as nice in a Frostbite.
- Añejo tequila is aged up to 3 years (also in oak barrels). Extra añejo is aged even longer (again, oak barrels). Both are very fine tequilas, but they can be expensive. Using them in this cocktail would be overkill, in our opinion.
- So when making a Frostbite, we suggest using any good-quality blanco or reposado tequila (blanco is our choice). If you’re looking for a brand suggestion, just ask at the local liquor store.
- Crème de cacao is bottled in both white (clear) and brown versions. The flavor difference between them is very slight; when mixed in this cocktail, it’s hard to distinguish between the two. We prefer to use the white version in a Frostbite because we think it looks more attractive (the brown version will produce a slightly darker drink). But if you have brown crème de cacao on hand, but all means use it—no need to buy white just for this drink.
- You can find crème de cacao at every liquor store (in the section that contains liqueurs and cordials). Several inexpensive brands are available at around $10 or so per bottle. The two brands we see most often are DeKuyper and Hiram Walker. Either works fine in this drink. If you want to splurge, Marie Brizard offers a good step up in quality (but it costs at least twice as much).
- Some versions of the Frostbite add blue curaçao (an orange-flavored liqueur). This adds an attractive hue to the drink, but detracts from the flavor. We say skip it.
- If you’re using nutmeg as a garnish, we recommend buying whole nutmeg seeds, then grating them as needed (we use a microplane grater). Freshly ground nutmeg tastes way better than the pre-grated stuff.
“Never knew tequila could play so nice,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, sipping her Frostbite Cocktail.
“Almost as smooth as the Brandy Alexander,” I said.
“That one goes down easy,” said Mrs K R. “Though maybe not quite so easy as my favorite tipple—champagne.”
“No worries,” I said. “With the holidays coming, we’ll have plenty of excuses to mix you a classic Champagne Cocktail. Or maybe a Kir Royale, which combines bubbly with crème de cassis. And if you want something stronger, there’s the French 75 Cocktail. That mixes bubbly with gin and lemon juice—very refreshing.”
“They’re all great,” said Mrs K R. “But remember the cocktail we put out for Santa last year—the Milk Punch? That was a charmer. Though maybe this time Ol’ Saint Nick would enjoy a glass of our Eggnog.”
“We should decorate our table with holiday color too,” I said. “So maybe we could mix up a Grasshopper Cocktail, which has a lovely green hue. It tastes like an after-dinner chocolate mint.”
“Yup,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “That one uses uses crème de menthe. As does the Stinger.”
“And if the Frostbite doesn’t satisfy our hankering for heavy cream, we could make a Smith and Curran—which also includes crème de cacao. Or a White Russian, which adds vodka and coffee liqueur.”
“So many drinks,” sighed Mrs K R. “Good thing the winter holidays last through New Year’s Day. We’ve got a lot of mixing to do.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
French 75 Cocktail
Smith and Curran
Or check out the index for more