Homemade Chocolate Vodka- in the Crock-pot!

Two great tastes that taste great together!  I was intrigued by several different posts on the web like this one claiming that you could make chocolate vodka with 3 simple ingredients, chocolate, vodka, and a dishwasher.  Basically the concept is you put the chocolate or candy bars into a bottle that is 3/4 full of vodka, cap it, and place it in the dishwasher and run a full cycle, including drying.  Shake it.  Let it cool.  You have a bottle of chocolate vodka!  This method definitely works but I ran into a few problems and came up with a solution of my own.

I started off with grated dark chocolate intended for hot cocoa, not the powdered kind but actual grated chocolate.  You could grate a candy bar or smash up some chocolate chips but the point is to get the chocolate into little bits so it melts easier.  Giant chunks of chocolate in the bottle will melt eventually, so don’t stress over it too much.  Just get the chocolate as fine as you feel like fooling with and put it in a clean, dry bottle.  Now add enough vodka to fill the bottle 3/4 full and cap it.

The reason you leave some room in the bottle is that alcohol boils at 79º and starts to evaporate into a gas.  Chocolate melts between 100-113º.  So when you get the bottle hot enough to melt the chocolate, the alcohol needs room to evaporate.  This led to my first problem with the dishwasher method.  I heard a loud “pop” from my dishwasher and realized the alcohol fumes had pushed the cork out of the bottle.  Definitely use a screw top if you are using this method.  I was lucky to get to it quickly enough to avoid spillage, or worse, soap in the bottle.  But now how to melt the rest of the chocolate???

I ended up placing the corked bottle into my crock-pot and filling it up with warm water from the tap.  Within half an hour, the water was hot enough to melt the chocolate without risk of explosion or soap.  You definitely have to watch the pot with this method.  If the water gets too hot, it could build up too much pressure in the bottle from the alcohol vapors and shatter the bottle.  But it gently heats the water, so the risk is less than trying it on the stove.  Once the chocolate is melted, give it a good shake and let it cool to below 79º before you open the bottle.  Ideally, store it in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks, giving it a good shake every couple of days but really, is chocolate vodka going to last that long?

I used 4 ounces of dark chocolate for 2 cups of vodka.  As a pastry chef, let me tell you the secret to all great chocolate desserts.  USE THE BEST CHOCOLATE YOU CAN FIND.  I have lots of opinions on brands.  Some of my favorites are Valrhona, El Rey, and Ghiradelli.  I cannot always afford Valrhona but when you are only using a few ounces in a recipe, it makes a huge difference on the taste as well as the results.  I found a premium brand of chocolate that was packaged grated to be used to make hot chocolate which worked quite well.  The vodka, on the other hand, you can skimp on.  I would not use a premium bottle of vodka like Grey Goose to make this.  The best bargain vodka that still tastes pretty smooth in my opinion is Monopolwa.  It is a potato vodka originally made in Poland but now made in Austria.  I had a very good Russian friend who drank this exclusively.  That’s good enough recommendation for me.

Do svidaniya!

Homemade Kahlua Recipe

Well before the Dude Abided, I was a White Russian fan.  My first legal drink in a bar was a White Russian.  I remember thinking, “Vodka and milk?  This is going to be gross.”  But what I didn’t know about then was the Kahlua, which is a coffee flavored liquer that when added to vodka and milk transforms the cocktail to a drink I like to refer to as Quik with a Kick as it is similar to a glass of the Nestle’s drink with a decidedly adult  finish. 

Kahlua is delicious and can be used in other drinks besides White Russians as well as in baking but at around $20 a bottle, it can be expensive.  I used the knock off store version for years before I figured out how to make my own.  I have  some that will most likely be poured into a mug of hot chocolate tonight to put a dent on the chill in the air.

Homemade Kahlua

  • 4 cups water*
  • 1/2 cup instant coffee*
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 liter vodka  **update**  I recently made a batch with a full liter of vodka on accident and actually liked it a bit a bit more, so I would say use a minimum of a 1/2 liter
  • 2 vanilla beans or 2 Tablespoon vanilla

Combine water, instant coffee, and brown sugar in large pot and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  This is important because the boiling point for alcohol is 79°.  If you put the vodka in before it has cooled to at least this temperature, you risk loosing some of the alcohol to evaporation.  Combine the vodka with the cooled coffee mixture.  Cut the vanilla beans in half and place into a clean 1 liter glass bottle.  Fill bottle with the coffee liquer and give it a shake.  The black specks floating around are the seeds from the vanilla bean also called “vanilla caviar”.  Yum!  Store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks.  The longer it sits, the tastier it gets but that is usually as long as I can wait.

* You can substitute 4 cups of your favorite strongly brewed coffee for the water and instant coffee.  I actually had some decent instant that a friend brought me back from Jamaica in my last batch that worked out great but use whatever you like.

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