Drinking Chocolate

Well it’s Easter again, which of course means I have every excuse to over-indulge on chocolate, with almost no guilt whatsoever. This year though, I am not going to be having an Easter egg. No sir! I’ll be getting my chocolate fix in liquid form instead.
The idea of using chocolate in drinks is of course nothing new, and at this time of year especially there are plenty of drinks being posted on cocktail blogs and websites that are absolutely loaded with chocolaty goodness. But I thought it might be time for something a bit different; so grabbing all the chocolate I could find in the house, I set about making drinks that subtly celebrate cocoa in all its glory.
You see, when you add chocolate to a drink it can get pretty rich and sickly, and frankly I’d rather enjoy lots of chocolate drinks (responsibly of course!) than have one or two and then feel sick. So this Easter at b&t HQ we’ll be enjoying a few well-balanced drinks with just enough chocolate to tease the taste buds, but not so much that there’ll be a need to diet once Easter is over.

There's no excuse not to drink cocktails!

I have just returned from my annual Christmas and New Year escape. You see unlike many people I don’t particularly enjoy the ‘festive’ season so I normally grab a group of like-minded individuals and head for the hills. As well as being a keen imbiber I also enjoy mountain biking, so a trip to deepest darkest Wales for a week of playing in the mud and snow up the side of a mountain always cheers me up, while others sit watching TV re-runs and eating Turkey.
This year was no exception, but where as I usually accept a week of drinking beer in place of Manhattans, this year I decided no compromise would be allowed. Here’s my simple philosophy… ‘there is no excuse not to drink cocktails’. No matter where you are or what you are doing, cocktails enhance the occasion, so why compromise?
So with that in mind I set about planning which bottles should go to Wales, with the obvious dilemma of taking enough variety for 8 days drinking, whilst still being able to fit everything else into the car! I would have loved to have been able to take the entire 'drinking room' collection with me, but practicality forced me to dig deep and cull my packing to no more than a couple of boxes, covering spirits, syrups, bitters, tools and fruit.  A real challenge!
I also decided that I should provide a cocktail list for my fellow mountain bikers, offering a broad range of drinks to suit their varied tastes. This made life both easier and harder; at least I could narrow down the list of ingredients to cover a small selection of drinks… but it also meant I had to bring enough ingredients to cover the whole range of drinks, not just the drinks I like best… so much for a bottle of rum, a bottle of bourbon and a bottle of Antica Formula vermouth!