There’s something that’s just irresistible about the combination of mint and chocolate. You all know what I mean, right? Think about those Andes mints with the green foil wrappers… And Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies… Or how about Chocolate Peppermint bark at Christmas time?? Since we’ve spent the week talking about the role that sugar plays in an Old-Fashioned, and in a Sour, I wanted to also cover its contribution to certain types of martinis. The most die hard martini drinker will often find anything other than the traditional dry version to be a bit of an abomination. Go ahead and suggest to them that they order something like a Mint Chocolate Martini and you might risk bodily injury. The problem that many people, myself included, have with these types of drinks is that they can be entirely too sugary. This sweetness often comes from the secondary spirits that are used to impart flavor to the drink. Since vodka or gin are strong base spirits, sometimes we end up using too much of our other ingredients to get the drink to taste the way we want it to. I’m going to take a different approach today and attempt to create a Mint Chocolate martini that avoids becoming too offensively sweet.
My main spirit definitely had to be vodka in this martini, and since I wanted to stay local, I chose Five Saints, which is distilled right here in Norristown. The next thing I reached for was crème de cacao because it brings a nice chocolate flavor to the drink without changing the color. I went with Marie Brizard which has a high enough alcohol content to stand up to the vodka and contribute more than just sugar. So I had my base spirit, and I had my chocolate; the only thing left was to figure out how to incorporate the mint flavor. I wanted to avoid something like a Peppermint Schnapps because that was sure to lead to a sugar overload, and a mint simple syrup was going to go in the same direction. I was considering my options when I had an epiphany. What about a mint tea syrup?? It would certainly give me the flavor I was looking for, and the tannins in the tea would add a dryness to the cocktail that would prevent it from becoming too sweet. I also added in 2 dashes of Fee Brother Aztec chocolate bitters, but I consider this to be completely optional. The drink is balanced without them, but you can use them if you want to boost the chocolate flavor even more. They will change the color of the drink depending on how much you add.
Mint Chocolate Martini
2 oz Five Saints vodka
¼ oz Marie Brizard crème de cacao*
¼ oz mint tea syrup**
1-3 dashes of Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters (optional)
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill ⅔ full with ice and stir 30-45 seconds or until very well chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a mint leaf. Enjoy!
*You have the option here of bumping up the crème de cacao or the mint tea syrup if you want a bit more sweetness, or if you want to emphasize one flavor over the other. Experiment and see what you like best.
**To make the teas syrup, bring 8 oz of filtered water just to a boil and then add 2 tea bags. Allow to steep for 15 minutes and then remove them. Pour 4 oz of the tea into a measuring cup and add ⅓ to ½ cup of sugar. Reheat gently until clear. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
You’ll notice that this recipe makes about a 3 oz drink. I have very small glasses because I like my martinis to stay as cold as possible! Adjust the amounts if you need to make a larger drink.