It may seem an oxymoron: a liquid dessert occupying the same title as that most sophisticated of drinks. Plenty of cocktail enthusiasts think it sacrilegious when a bartender approaches a martini glass with Hershey's syrup. And they are right. The ubiquitous alcoholic mousse is empty calories and ultimately an empty experience. Besides — it's a girlie drink! Wouldn't you feel a little foolish ordering up one of these? I've done it so you don't have to.
The drink above comes from The Olde Stone Mill (Tuckahoe, New York), which has the dubious distinction of starring in Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Under new management, the bar has expanded its lounge menu to include many dessert drinks — even the venerable Manhattan has raspberry in it. Talk about a nightmare.
It is possible, though, to have your (chocolate) cake and drink it too, without the inanity of sipping on a fermented devil dog. Some time ago, during Restaurant Week on Cape Cod, I ducked into one of my favorite haunts and surreptitiously asked for a chocolate martini. Now mind you, this bar is the one that taught me how to make the true chocolate martini. Once, standing in front of the vodka display in a New York City liquor store, I called the proprietor and asked him for his drink recipe. Chris Wilson graciously walked me through it, step by step. Imagine my surprise, then, when the bartender served me up something that looked like a tootsie roll. My raised eyebrow must have been obvious because the bartender immediately asked me what was wrong. I told her it wasn't what I had expected.
"Oh, you want a Classic Chocolate Martini. I'm so sorry. Most of the people who order the chocolate martini want one of these. I'll make you another drink."
And she did and it was perfect. This drink is pleasing in a dark chocolate kind of way — it's sophisticated and not overly sweet.
Here is the Painted Lady's Classic Chocolate Martini recipe:
4 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka (chilled)
2 oz. clear creme de cacao
Chill a martini glass. Moisten the rim and place glass upside down on a superfine sugar and cocoa powder blend. Combine your ingredients (all two of them) into a chilled cocktail shaker, stir, and strain into the glass. Add a piece of chocolate.
Couldn't be simpler or more tasty.
Here is the real secret of the Classic Chocolate Martini: it doesn't look like dessert. For all anyone knows, sitting near you at The Haute Lounge, you don't have a sweet tooth. You are sanctimoniously drinking a extra dry gin martini just like Nick or Nora Charles would. Be sure to eat that piece of chocolate quickly before anyone notices it's not an olive.