Using chocolate in a vodka infusion
I've reviewed all the infusion posts & didn't find anything on this. Has anyone used cocoa nibs or cocoa beans to make a chocolate flavored vodka? I used to buy Three Olives brand when we lived in So. Calif, but we moved & the liquor stores don't carry this flavor. Currently, I substitute Godiva chocolate liqueur, but would prefer the vodka. TIA!
Oh, yeah, please don't suggest buying something too exotic. We moved to the sticks!
I've never done a chocolate infusion, but I'd guess that a good quality cocoa powder is the way to go. Any other form seems like it would be harder to extract the chocolate flavor. As will all infusions, after letting it sit (with occasional shaking/stirring) in a cool, dark place for a week or so, I'd strain it first through a sieve, then through coffee filters a couple of times to remove the solids and end up with a nice clear (by which I mean uncloudy, not uncolored) product.
I tried making a chocolate liqueur using Scharffenberger Cocoa Powder, but the results were difficult. The cocoa powder was nearly impossible to filter using normal kitchen means. A better filter might work, but you may try using the cocoa nibs to impart the cocoa flavor into the vodka. This would do the same thing and be MUCH easier to filter, but it will take longer to extract the flavor.
Scharffenberger sells excellent cocoa nibs that would work great in an infusion. Adding a cinnamon stick could even make an Aztec variety that is unlike anything sold in the stores. I would recommend a dash of vanilla extract to soften the normally sharp taste of unsweetened chocolate. Good luck!
As sanman alluded to, your local liquor store is 100% able to order anything that is carried by the distributor - don't let the store tell you otherwise. The distributor will have books of available products that they carry, and the store manager often has copies of the books. If not, simply get the phone number to the distributor and ask them if they carry Three Olives. Remember that there is usually more than one distributor that will serve an area. The store may request that you purchase a whole case of the liquor if it is a "special order" but if you plan on drinking it, it's not like vodka goes bad very quickly.
I have infused vodka with chocolate, and it works. Stick some top quality chocolate in the vodka and let it sit. The quality of chocolate will matter.
Depending on what you're going for, you may want to add sugar and then let it sit and mellow some. But the chocolate flavor will come out in the vodka.