If not the food of the gods, chocolate is most certainly, the food of the decadent. Not that sweet milky stuff, so beloved of Quakers from Birmingham and our precious little 'uns, but the dark, adult, fiercely self-indulgent substance that measures itself in high percentages of cocoa solids.
And if a chunk or two of that isn't enough to get your tastebuds flowing, why not make a cocktail out if it?
I'm not the first to think of that, of course, but following a feast of cocktail-related gifts I received at Christmas, I've added another drink to the canon. And, hopefully, even Canon Cholmondley of Worcester might enjoy one, too. After vespers, naturally. Don't confuse it for communion wine, whatever you do, Canon.
I'm naming this cocktail Ironically Hot Chocolate. Not, ironically, Hot Chocolate – note the commas and lower case 'i' in the latter phrase. And you'll see in a sec where the heat emanates from.
So here's what you do...
Ironically Hot Chocolate
Blitz a few squares of dark 80% cocoa solids chocolate and empty on to a large plate
300ml excellent Russian or Polish wodka (I do like the sound of it spoken with a 'w') which has been languishing in the tundra – or freezer compartment if it's more convenient
50ml Creme de Cacao
Good dash of Xocolatl Mole bitters
Dash of tabasco sauce (deep, deep heat!!!)
Squeeze of lime juice
Add the liquid ingredients to 4 lumps of ice in a cocktail shaker and give it a frisky shake
Run a wedge of lime round the edge of your cocktail glasses then dip into the dark chocolate blitzed earlier
Pour mixture into the glasses
Dust cocoa powder over the surface of each with the help of a sieve.
Serves 4-6, depending on the demands of your guests.
As Dean Martin used to sing – Ain't that a kick in the head.
It is actually quite strong, so do be careful and just have a little one. One being the operative word here.
A minor gripe, however: why is it so damned difficult to open bottles? Don't the makers want us to drink the stuff – merely admire it?
I had to take a sharp knife to the top of my de Kuypers Creme de Cacao liqueur to ease it off, and I was forced to employ a pair of pliers to allow me entry to the Stolichnaya vodka. Heavens, I almost gave up. Note the "almost".
Back to Parnassus: I have a chum who lives in Montparnasse in Paris. Chantal, a true internationalist, with links to Brussels, London, the States, India, China and currently France, is a photographer in Paris with a thrilling portfolio of portraits and other artistic works to her name. Do catch up with Chantal at her website...
She's also a bit of a playwright and that's where her link to cocktails comes in. Venus on Vacation, her second play, which she also translated into French as Vénus en Vacances was later staged in a Mandarin version in Shanghai where Chantal was billed as a "French romantic author". The star of the show, the goddess of love herself, delivers a resounding rap at the end of the play. Here's a taste....
The barman mixes you a daiquiri.
While perched on your stool you begin to feel queasy.
Three parts lust, two parts incertitude,
Longing’s shaken, loins are stirred.
Guzzled down in one the potion’s working,
Indomitable in faith in what Cupid’s recommending.
Honey-tipped quiver’s gone’n done its job.
Add the rhum and the lime juice says your heart’ll start to throb.
Que serà serà you’re headed for devotion.
The potion’s the lotion, the heady libido’s in motion.
Venus Rap © Chantal Rosas Cobian
Venus Rap © Chantal Rosas Cobian
Three parts lust, one part incertitude... oooh vicar!