AlcoHOLidays | Devil’s Food Cake Day | Cocoa Diablo



Does chocolate cake sound good to anyone else right about now?

This coming Sunday, May 19, is National Devil’s Food Cake Day and I’m pretty much sold on the idea, truth be told. Might have to squeeze in some baking between appointments on Saturday.

What makes Devil’s Food cake different from other chocolate cakes? Good question! Generally speaking (i.e., according to Wikipedia), Devil’s Food cake usually contains coffee and usually uses cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate for the primary flavoring agent.

Of course it would have been super simple to construct a cake-sweet cocktail for today with chocolate vodka, chocolate syrup, some Kahlua and maybe some milk to tie it all together, but we’ve been down that road and that cocktail–while tasty!–has been done to death. Instead, let’s take a different path today. A more feisty path.

Does madness follow down this road? Maybe so, but it’s tasty madness.

Cocoa Diablo

2 oz strongly-brewed Coffee (preferably chilled)
1 1/2 oz Dark Chocolate Vodka (like Van Gogh)
1/2 oz Absolut Pepar
pinch of Spicy Rim Blend

Spicy Rim Blend: 1 part red chili powder, 2 parts powdered ginger, 4 parts cocoa powder

Run a wedge of lemon or lime around the outer edge of a cocktail glass then drag the rim of the glass through the Spicy Rim Blend. If you’re unsure of your guests’ heat tolerance, only rim one half of the glass.

Combine the cocktail ingredients over ice in the bottom of a shaker and shake like Mephistopheles, himself, is on your tail. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass and sip with caution.

If you make this with warm or hot coffee, you will end up with more water in the mix–this may or may not be a good thing to your thinking. Proceed accordingly. This looks like your average chocolate martini (sans milk, obviously) with a cocoa powder rim. Looks can be deceiving. Fact is, this is a more-spicy-than-sweet chocolate cocktail that lives up to it’s name. It’s not a relaxing cocktail to wind down a dinner with, more of a get the party started tipple.. And, yes, it might be useful if you feel like daring a friend to try something shocking.


AlcoHOLidays | National Battery Day | High Voltage


jwalker_highvoltagecocktailGot your history caps on? Today’s cocktail comes with a real charge!

Unlike the seemingly arbitrary assignment of some holidays (yes, PB&J Day, I’m looking at you), National Battery Day makes perfect sense as it falls on February 18th, the birthday of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery.

Volta (from whom we get the word volt–the measure of electrical potential) was a physicist born in Como Italy, who discovered the gas methane in 1778 as well as created what he called a voltaic pile in 1800–an electrochemical cell or, in other words, a battery. With some acidic or brined cloth between them, the stacked zinc and copper get to zapping, and we get electricity. He also had another version called, appropriately enough, the Crown of Cups.

High Voltage

3/4 oz. Pepper Vodka
1/2 oz. Chocolate Liqueur
a couple pieces Crystallized Ginger
2 1/2 oz. Ginger Beer

In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the crystallized ginger with the vodka and chocolate liqueur until the ginger is broken up. Fill the mixing glass 3/4 full with ice, top with ginger beer and shake until nice and frothy. Strain into a prepared cocktail glass and garnish with a bit more of the crystallized ginger and a red chili.

When brainstorming this drink for a few days leading up to my own experiments, I was thinking of flavors that would instantly communicate a bit of a zap to the tongue: ginger and chili. Well, turns out, when I did the research, both ginger and chili powder natural sources of copper in the diet, and dark chocolate gives us copper as well as zinc*. Obviously the distillation process has probably done away with the actual health benefits of this drink, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

As for particulars, for the vodka I used Absolut Peppar, the chocolate was–of course–Godiva, and the ginger beer Bundaberg. If you must use ginger ale, at least use something with some bite to it or make up a small batch of ginger sugar syrup (small because the ginger zing fades away quickly) and add it to your own seltzer water to taste.

So if you need something to zap you into action, why not raise your glass to Count Volta (so honored by Napoleon in 1801) and get to your good times quick like a bunny.

Sips & Shots: come for the cocktails, stay for the history lessons. Or not.



*For the love of all that’s good and right, please do not take your nutritional guidelines from a cocktail article, m’kay? If you think you need additional zinc, copper, or anything else that your body may be lacking, please see a doctor not a bartender.