Cocktails with… Hotel Chocolat’s Cocoa Gin

There are flavoured gins and cordial gins, the first being a spirit with a bold secondary flavour (after juniper), and the second being a sort of gin liqueur. Today’s review is of Hotel Chocolat’s Cocoa Gin. I am always a bit wary of such products (another example being the Earthworm Gin); little information is often provided on the product and they come in unusually small and expensive bottlings.

Hotel Chocolat’s Cocoa Gin is described as, “Small batch artisan gin infused with cocoa shells”. The back label states that it is “A classically cool and crisp English Dry infused with the flavours of our St. Lucian cocoa estate – Roasted cocoa shells, crushed macadamia nuts and lemon zest with juniper, coriander, minneola, and angelica.”

Cocoa Gin

The term “infused” is interesting, as the gin tastes like a distilled product. My guess is that it may be a blend of distillates or distilled via a vapour infusion basket. It is bottled at 42% ABV.

On its own
Nose: Lots of citrus – coriander, and some orange or mandarin notes – as well as a dark, nutty chocolate.
Taste: This is a gentle spirit bursting with a pool of citrus oil; unusual, but not unpleasant. The chocolate is quite subtle, but gradually builds after a few sips, along with some slightly buttery, nutty notes. This is a very contemporary style of gin, with strong notes of floral citrus and coriander.

Gin & Tonic
Nuts and chocolate on the nose, but a very citrusy taste. This may be a bit “out there” for many gin fans (there isn’t much juniper, for example), but it is nevertheless quite refreshing.

Martini
Lots of citrus with some dry chocolate notes, too, and a nutty finish. This is certainly a contemporary Martini, but still a very tasty one.

Negroni
Fragrant coriander and citrus mix with dry cocoa on the nose. It has a fragrant and juicy flavour, with a strong bitter-dry finish. There is a real “POW!” to this drink, but it is more perfumed than a more traditional Negroni, and far more zesty, too.

In Conclusion
Cocoa Gin is a very contemporary style of gin, but has a complex and intense flavour and stands up well to use in mixed drinks. I think the gin itself was very good although it could perhaps have a heavier chocolate focus and so fans of cocoa may be disappointed, fans of gin however will likely be delighted with the spirit. My favourite was the Martini.