I've heard of wine & chocolate pairings, but only a few people in Chicago are doing anything with cocktails or spirits and any type of food, let alone truffles. It was a fun (and tasty) project, so I kept working with more of her truffles. I came up with some great pairings, and I also made some cocktails that were good on their own, but definitely not with truffles. Here's an update on what I came up with (the good ones, anyway):
Pairing No. 1 - Citrus
- Truffle: Semisweet chocolate, with lemon, orange, and lime; topped with homemade candied orange peel
- Cocktail: 2 oz. NS Tahitian vanilla vodka, 1 oz. fresh tangelo juice, splash of fresh lime and dash of ginger liqueur (I used Massenez); served up
- Notes: The underlying vanilla tones heightened the chocolate, and the citrus notes complemented each other well. Surprisingly, the drink did not drown out the citrus notes in the truffle.
- Truffle: Milk chocolate, hazelnut puree, roasted ground hazelnuts
- Cocktail: 2 oz gin (I used Distiller's Gin No. 6, as you might expect), 1 oz fresh lime juice Juice, 1 oz ginger-infused simple syrup (1:1 ratio); shaken & strained through cinnamon stick resting in cocktail glass
- Notes: This pairing surprised my new chocolatier friend; the ginger, cinnamon & spices in the gin actually accentuated the nuttiness of the chocolate rather than drowning it out (her fear), and the lime balanced the sweetness.
- Truffle: Bittersweet chocolate, dark rum, freshly toasted coconut
- Cocktail: 1 oz NS Vodka, 1/2 oz pineapple juice, 1/2 oz apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter), and 1/2 oz amaro (Averna); shake, then strain into glass of ice & top with club soda
- Notes: I wanted to use rum here, but alas we don't make one, and I wanted to stay within our product line. At first I tried using coconut in the drink, but any hint of it destroyed the delicate coconut in the truffle. So I went for other tropical flavors, with the pineapple and apricot, and then the amaro to cut the sweetness and add some depth.