Cocktail Advent 10: Oaxaca Chacas


You may not be able to pronounce it (my best guess is WOX-a-ca CHA-ka) but I’m betting this Mexican twist on the usual spiked hot chocolate will have tequila lovers rejoicing!

Image via Milagro Tequila

Image via Milagro Tequila

Oaxaca Chakas

2 parts of Milagro® AÑEJO
¾ parts agave nectar
1 part heavy whipping cream
2 parts milk
1 part oaxacan chocolate powder
freshly whipped cream

On medium heat, combine all ingredients except for the whipped cream, stirring casually until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour heated mixture into a coffee cup and top with whipped cream. Garnish with a stick of cinnamon.

See, now, there’s a “parts” recipe written correctly! By using relative measures of each item you can easily make this for one or many by deciding what your basic “part” measurement would be. I’d start off with part=1 ounce to end up with a an approximate 6-ounce serving for one.

This past weekend was warm and humid–not very holiday appropriate to my mind, but now that the cooler temperatures have returned I’m thinking this cocoa needs to be tried, pronto! And if you can’t put your hands on the oaxacan chocolate powder, mix up your own by combining cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, and powdered vanilla.

***This recipe was submitted by a representative of Milagro tequila. I was not compensated for posting this recipe, though I can say I’ve purchased Milagro tequila in the past and it is a brand I’d recommend. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

Review & Recipes | Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka

Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka and 2 of its progency

Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka and 2 of its progency

One good review deserves another, doncha think?

At least it does when the product—in this case Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka—is as tasty as it looks and sounds.

First the basics: Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka definitely lives up to it’s name. It’s not a super-sweet milk chocolate flavor, you’re definitely getting serious cacao, here, and while the edges of such intense chocolate are there, it’s not as harsh as dark chocolate can be. I also found this flavor to be smoother than the PB&J vodka I sampled two weeks ago—just a rounder mouth feel overall.

That said, this is a liquor, not a liqueur, so it’s not as unctuous or rich as you would get from, say, a Godiva chocolate liqueur.

They sent along some suggested recipes to try and, after the PB&J Frappe last time, I was all about the Banana Parfait this time.

Van Gogh Chocolate Banana Parfait
Created by The Cocktail Guru, Jonathan Pogash

2 oz Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka
2 scoops Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 cup Milk
1 Banana

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a parfait glass and garish with whipped cream, cocoa powder, and sliced bananas.

As you can see, I went with one of my red wine goblets instead of a parfait glass—there’s just something so awesome about a wine goblet filled with smoothie that I can hardly put it into words. I also opted for some vodka-spiked chocolate whipped cream I had on the bar. It was a nice contrast though it weighed the top of the “parfait” down so much it started to overflow even the bounty of my glass.

Outtake: the overflowing parfait cocktail--delicious and messy!

Outtake: the overflowing parfait cocktail–delicious and messy!

Comparing the two, I still side with the PB&J Frappe, but this was still an excellent dessert smoothie. I’d say it could easily serve two; I did share a bit with Todd but I admit, I downed most of this one on my own.

Too much? All things in moderation, folks, even moderation!

Milky Way Martini

2 oz Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka
1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
½ oz Van Gogh Vanilla Vodka

Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled martini glass.

This is a lot like the candy bar shots we would make with chocolate liqueur back in the day, but as a martini it’s a bit… lacking? Generally speaking you stir cocktails comprised of all alcoholic ingredients, so I did stir this one per the usual custom (I’m such a recipe rebel, right?). Once I tasted it, though, it needed something, something like milk, so I’d suggest you add 1-1 ½ oz cold milk to the ingredients and then, yes, shake it to your hearts delight and you’ll likely be much happier with the end result.

Y’all know I’m a sucker for good packaging and the Van Gogh bottles are gorgeous works of functional art, so extra points for that. All in all I enjoyed the Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka and look forward to playing with it in future recipes.


I was provided a bottle of Van Gogh Rich Dark Chocolate Vodka for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.

A Hot Way to Cool Down


Ahh, rum. It was my spirit of choice back when I hit the legal drinking age (no, really, I was a goody two shoes and didn’t drink until I was 21*), probably because I grew up watching Aunt Marie mix Pina Coladas at my grandmother’s wet bar and I just thought that was the life, right there.

(*Except for that Thanksgiving we were in Louisiana and the legal drinking age was still 18. And, when unsure of what to order, my companion said “Order an Amaretto Sour–it’s what I get when I’m driving.”)

Rum and coke, fruity rum libations, rum balls, rum cake… rum and I were friends.

Funny, though, when I look back at the cocktails I’ve created over the last couple of years, not many of them have been rum-based! What’s even more shocking is that I’ve been favoring vodka and gin over my beloved rum, and I used to think vodka was the supreme evil after one disastrous night about 10 years ago. (Truth be told, it wasn’t the vodka’s fault, that night can be chalked up entirely to questionable choices on my part, only alleviated by a guardian angel with the patience of a saint.)

Still, rum and I go way back, which is why this recipe that I was sent on behalf of Cruzan flavored rums sounded worth sharing with y’all, today.

Cruzan Chocolate Covered Cherry Frozen Cocktail CRUZAN® CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY

2 parts Cruzan® Black Cherry Rum
1 part Cruzan® Vanilla Rum
1/2 part Chocolate Syrup
1 part Milk
Splash Grenadine

Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1/2 cup of ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass drizzled with chocolate sauce. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a cherry.

I’m not usually big on frozen cocktails these days, but even I’m intrigued by this one. And while I haven’t tried Cruzan’s Black Cherry or Vanilla rums, I was certainly pleased with their Pineapple rum back when I was on a Caipirinha kick a couple summer’s ago!


50 Shots of America–Wyoming

Cowboy UP! Cocktail

Cowboy UP! (with sugar cookies and milk)

Dude, we’re up to the 44th state of the Union: Wyoming!

And no, I haven’t confused my states, I know we’ve already done California. I’m not talking surfing, here, I’m talking ranching! Dude ranches, specifically, the first of which was opened in 1879 in Wolf, Wyoming by the Eaton brothers (warning: music plays automatically). Back then, “dude” referred more to dandies than the burn-outs of the Bill & Ted/Big Lebowski era, which makes a lot more sense when you think about Dude Ranches being places for city folk to get away and “play West” the way kids play house.

So, what else is there to know about Big Wyoming? Well, that it is big, for one thing! It’s the 1oth largest state size-wise but it’s the 50th people-wise. Lots of room to spread out (at least on the 3rd that isn’t mountain ranges). There’s also lots of mining and beau-coup tourism (can we say major National Parks? yes, yes we can). On the agricultural side they’ve got beef, hay, sugar beets, wheat, barley and wool.

And then there’s the who Equality thing. With “Equal Rights” as a state motto I suppose it’s no surprise that they were the first state to give women the vote, to allow them to serve in previously male-only occupations (bailiff, justice of the peace) and even the first to elect a woman as governor!

Cowboy UP!

1 Tbsp Shredded Coconut
1/2 oz Dark Rum
1/2 oz Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz Hazelnut Liqueur

Muddle the coconut and the rum in the bottom of a mixing glass. Fill with ice, then add the chocolate and hazelnut liqueurs. Shake like a bucking bronco just outta the gate and strain into a chilled cordial glass (miniature bandanna optional).

Wyoming is, among other things, the Cowboy state and all I could think of after that was Cowboy Cookies: oatmeal cookies studded with nuts, raisins, chocolate and coconut. Of course, what goes better with cookies than milk? Unlike most of my drinks, this one doesn’t include any mixer so I’d suggest you chase it with a shot of milk or go ahead and pour it in–either way the drink is delicious.

50 Shots of America–Minnesota

Clouds in my Curacao

Clouds in my Curacao

Minnesota may well be the North Star State and the Land of 10.000 Lakes (actually 11,842–that just doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy) but after reading up on our 32nd state I’m more inclined to think of it as the shopping state! Did you know the first indoor shopping mall opened there and that Bloomington is currently home to Mall of America, a mall as big as 78 football fields?!

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

It’s also known as the Land of Sky-Blue Waters (Minnesota means cloudy water or sky-tinted water in Dakota) and the Gopher State.

Clouds in my Curacao

3/4 oz Vanilla Vodka
1/4 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Tonic Water
dash Milk

Combine the vodka and curacao over ice and shake like a dancing gopher! Add the tonic water over the mixture and ice, swirl to chill and then strain into a small cocktail glass. Spoon in the dash of milk and watch the clouds roll before the drink settles into a concoction of pale blue sky.