When some people think of a flavoured vodka, they turn up their noses, haunted by bad memories of overly-sweetened spirits flavoured with essences such as “Cookies ‘n’ Cream” or “Cinnamon Bun”. Thankfully, there are distillers across the world who are changing things with the introduction of botanically flavoured vodkas, i.e. those where flavours are introduced via distillation instead of compounding, in a method similar to that used to produce gin.
Today’s spirit is an example of just such a botanical vodka. Curio Cocoa Nib Vodka is made by infusing vodka with Peruvian cocoa nibs; this mix is then distilled to capture the cocoa flavour. The result is a dry and genuine flavour. The spirit, which is bottled at 40% ABV, is produced by Curio Spirits Company at their distillery in Mullion, Cornwall. They also make a rather tasty Rock Samphire Gin.
On its own
Nose: Dry, dusky chocolate that reminds me of pure, powdered cocoa. There is then some light nuttiness and a little zest.
Taste: The fuller character of the cocoa is revealed on the palate: it has an indulgent and silky texture; quite creamy, but with a distinctive, deep chocolate note that is followed by a touch of warmth and a richness on the finish. Clean and smooth, this has evident potential for both drinking neat and mixing.
This has a fantastic, thick and luxurious texture. The complex cocoa notes follow, with a mix of dark bean, creamy vanilla, and a buttery oiliness. The finish is lovely and creamy. Served from the freezer, this really captures the character of cocoa.
This drink works well with a hearty tonic such as Schweppes, but really shines through with something like Fever-Tree, making a long, refreshing drink that is interwoven with nutty cocoa bean notes. The recommended lime garnish complements these chocolatey flavours well.
This makes a full-bodied and silky Martini that is chocolatey, but nonetheless dry enough to be served as a pre-dinner drink.
Chocolate Soda Float
[Combine 25ml Cocoa Vodka, 75ml Chilled Soda/Sparkling Water – Add a Scoop of Ice-cream (we used Cornish Clotted Cream Ice-cream]
A fresh and dry drink that gradually sweetens as the ice-cream melts. The combination of vodka and soda gives the drink crispness, whilst the ice-cream adds balance. For a sweeter version, you could easily add a splash of chocolate sauce or use cola instead of soda.
Curio Spirits’ Cocoa Nib Vodka captures the delicious and authentic flavour of cocoa nibs and the dry style makes it both very pleasant to sip neat and a versatile mixing ingredient. Although I really enjoyed the Soda Float, this was just pipped to the post by sipping the vodka straight from the freezer.
Curio Cacao Nib Vodka is avaialble for around £24 for 70cl from Master of Malt.