Veteran bartender Katie Stipe was an early adopter of infusing spirits with cacao nibs to add depth to her cocktails. She asserts that nibs provide “a nice way to add coffee notes without adding actual caffeine.” She uses the nibs, along with chicory, to infuse the brandy for her Voulez Vous Carré, a Vieux Carré riff she currently serves at Voysey in Portland, Oregon, in which the infused brandy joins bonded rye, vanilla-heavy Carpano Antica and the traditional Bénédictine. She appreciates the “Café du Monde flavor profile” the infusion bestows on the drink, referencing the strong chicory-laced coffee at the famous New Orleans beignet spot.
- 3/4 ounce bonded rye whiskey
- 3/4 ounce chicory- and cacao nib-infused brandy (see Editor's Note)
- 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth, preferably Carpano Antica
- 1/4 ounce Bénédictine
- 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Garnish: lemon twist
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled.
- Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
- Garnish with a lemon twist.
Chicory- and Cacao Nib-Infused Brandy
Infuse 1/2 cup of cacao nibs in brandy for at least 24 hours and no more than three days. Simultaneously or separately, infuse 1/4 cup chicory for one to three hours. Filter through a coffee filter to remove solids.