As something of a chocoholic I’ve always been disappointed in the quality of both the spirits and the cocktails available. Drinks like the Chocolate Martini and the Chocolate-covered Candy Cane Martini practically have my teeth falling out at the thought of them, and spirits vary from sickly sweet liqueurs that taste completely artificial to fairly bland and uninspiring crème de cacaos that lack enough flavour to make a decent impact in cocktails.
Slowly though the tide is turning, with items like the chocolate bitters from Bittermens and Scrappy’s bringing nuanced chocolate flavours to the bartenders arsenal. Until now though a genuine chocolate liqueur worthy of in inclusion in quality cocktails has been lacking. However at Bar Convent Berlin last year I found nearly everyone I spoke to enthusing about a new spirit on show there – Mozart Dry chocolate spirit.
Mozart have been producing a number of low alcohol (15-17%) chocolate liqueurs at their distillery in Salzburg, Austria for a number of years now, which have been well received in the GSA countries. Mozart Dry is made using a maceration of two different cocoa beans that are macerated in high-proof alcohol. This is then stored in barrels for two months and redistilled to produce the clear “chocolate distillate”.
As a final step prior to bottling the spirit is stored in a room playing Mozart for 24 hours – a process they call “sound-milling“. This seems like an innocent if silly gimmick, though the references to research by M. Emoto sound a lot like the nonsense espoused by homeopathy “researchers”. Regardless, what matters is the result in the glass and Mozart Dry doesn’t disappoint.
Update: In actual fact Mozart Dry is not sound-milled. This process is only performed on the liqueurs Mozart produce
The spirit provides an aroma of rich cocoa and vanilla, reminiscent of entering a quality chocolatier, which is quite unlike any chocolate liqueur I’ve tried. Similarly in the mouth a wonderful chocolate flavour coats the mouth with a little vanilla in the background, but what’s really special is the finish. After the nuanced chocolate notes you expect to be hit with a hefty dose of sugar, but instead the cocoa slowly fades with hints of bitterness in to a slight alcoholic heat. Not a hint of sweetness anywhere to be found.
This complete lack of sweetness means Mozart Dry is going to be very versatile in the creation of cocktails, and this is perfectly demonstrated in a cocktail by Klaus St. Rainer from Schumann’s in Munich, Germany.
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz Mozart Dry
- ⅔ shot / 20 ml / ⅔ oz Campari
- ⅔ shot / 20 ml / ⅔ oz Antica Formula
- Shake well with ice and fine strain in to an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange zest twist.
An interesting take on the Negroni, the cocoa notes of the Mozart combine perfectly with the Campari and vermouth to create an aromatic cocktail with a lovely bitter chocolate undertone. It’s a great combination of flavours and one that simply wouldn’t be possible with any other product. With this spirit Mozart have taken chocolate cocktails in an interesting and exciting direction, and I look forward to exploring more drinks that use it. Highly recommended.
Note: In the interests of full disclosure, a sample bottle of Mozart Dry was supplied to me for review.
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