I’m wicked cold. That kind of cold that just doesn’t quit. True there is a fire in the wood burning stove, but that’s downstairs. I’m upstairs- watching the weather change. The sky is dappled with gray and blue, the wind has settled down a bit and the temperature is on its way well below freezing for the first time since March.
For this kind of bone chilling cold I recommend hot liquids. Preferably with some kind of liquor in them, correcting the non-alcoholic with the blatantly intoxicating. You see, when I make a drink and I’m on record for this- make fewer drinks but… MAKE THEM STRONG…
The International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show is held yearly at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. This show attracts a clientele who are professional in nature: chefs, restaurant owners, bar owners and interested students. There are a few specialty food dealers in attendance as well. One of the participants in this year’s show was an exuberant young lady named Christina Summers. She is the CEO of a company named Dolce Vita llc. What her company makes in Italy is just about the most luscious, thick hot chocolate that I’ve had in recent memory. This is an ultra-luxury product without any genetically modified ingredients that calls you to task immediately. Why? After I drank down my first cup, made with some leftover coffee from this morning, there was that desire for another. And other with the final cup set to be corrected.
What’s corrected mean?
The last week of September I spent in Abruzzi, Italy. This is the part of Italy unknown to most Americans. Heavily damaged in the earthquakes that rocked Italy in recent years, Abruzzi has never been a tourist destination. That’s probably because until recently that wines have been dismissed as no more than “airplane” wines and the winding roads are too narrow to accommodate tour buses. The thousand food drop-offs without guardrails might have something to do with that. At any rate, after driving around in the freezing cold, staring out over mountains and valleys out to the sea, a cup of espresso and hot chocolate seems very romantic indeed. To that little cup of dreams I looked up on the shelf behind the man patiently waiting for me. Corrected means just that, your coffee is corrected with alcohol.
There was a small selection of rum, mostly from Cuba. One was a vanilla flavored version of the famous Havana Club. This ingredient went into my espresso and chocolate. So far, so good but I needed something else for the chocolate, coffee, rum mixture in the cup. Perhaps a chocolate liqueur would work? I think you’re on to something, but the patient up to now espresso barman clearly had enough of this American in his shop, taking up space from the throng
of paying customers. Espresso is quick. Ordering is faster still. People run into an espresso shop and throw down 1 oz. or less of a fantastically sweet aromatic espresso faster than anything Starbucks could every imagine doing. And to have a full bar behind the espresso machine; this experience was virtually bliss to this tourist from New Jersey. My mind was filled with dreams for strong Cuban rum first thing in the morning.
Since we cannot buy Cuban rum in the United States I’m substituting rum from Brooklyn, NY. I think it is darned good stuff. This rum from the brilliantly talented distiller Bridget Firtle at the Noble Experiment, is truly lovely rum with luscious character. It’s delicious with hot chocolate from Italy! I used the vanilla infused rum with Madagascar Vanilla. This rum is toasty, creamy and lush across the tongue.
All I could think about was the Chocolatto Hot Chocolate and this rum from Brooklyn.
But something else was needed. Another liqueur from Brooklyn perhaps? Absolutely! For the missing flavor element I chose the Brooklyn Roasting Company Columbian Coffee Liqueur. This is a mind-bogglingly good coffee liqueur. Ripe with notes of toasty, sweet Columbian coffee woven with deeper notes of dark cane sugar and silky infused spirits, the coffee liqueur and the Noble Experiment Vanilla Rum are just a match made in… well Brooklyn!
I’m sorry in many ways not to have another pouch of this amazing hot chocolate from Italy. It is a trip to a forgotten section of the Italian countryside in every thick and creamy sip. Add some vanilla rum and coffee liqueur and time stands still for more than a moment. A final flourish of Bitter Truth Orange bitters gives that aromatic counterpoint to bitter and sweet in the finish.
Besides, I love the taste of orange with chocolate, vanilla and strong espresso coffee.
You can enjoy this treat anytime.
Drinking Italian hot chocolate on a cold day in November, thickly textured in your mug, woven with Brooklyn made spirits is a gift. I recommend that you try one.
The Dolce Vite Spicy Toddy
1 oz. Dolce Vite Chocolatto Hot Chocolate Mix (extra thick and creamy, European style from Italy)
½ oz. Brooklyn Roasting Company Columbian Coffee Liqueur
½ oz. Owney’s Vanilla Bean Small Batch Rum
½ oz. Espresso Coffee
2 oz. Steamed Whole Milk (Regular, not skim- please)
Extremely tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (less than that!)
Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
Preheat a ceramic mug with boiling hot water and pour out when thoroughly hot
Add the steamed milk and espresso to the Dolce Vite Chocolatto mix
Add the Rum and the Coffee liqueur to the hot chocolate
Add the tiny pinch of cayenne pepper over the top
Add a shake or two of the Bitter Truth Orange bitters over the top of the cayenne pepper… And sip.
Preheat another mug for your second drink. Do it!
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!
Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.