Chocolate is made from cacao beans and crème de cacao is flavoured with these beans but crème de cacao is not a chocolate liqueur. Crème de cacao may also have other flavourings in common with chocolate, most notably vanilla, but a good crème de cacao should smell and taste of cacao (not chocolate) and have a slight bitterness balanced by sugar sweetness.
Crème de cacao can either be "white" (crystal clear) or "dark" (brown coloured) and these two types of crème de cacao have different appearances due to the way they are made and this also impacts their flavour. White crème de cacaos are made using a distillate of cacao while dark crème de cacaos are flavoured by infusion or percolation (and sometimes also a distillate). On this page we're concentrating on cocktails made using white (clear) crème de cacao and this tends to be lighter with a more refined and delicate flavour than it's darker sibling.
Crème de cacao liqueurs don't contain dairy cream. The "crème" in the name refers to the liqueurs thick creamy mouthfeel achieved due to a sugar content of at least 250 grams per litre, specified by European law to be a crème liqueur. Crème is also a reference to the liqueur's perceived quality due to that high sugar level, as in the phrase "crème de la crème". When crème liqueurs first appeared, sugar was still an expensive commodity.
With: Dry gin, Dutch white crème de cacao, Americano bianco and lemon juice.
We say: Proof from the 1930s that chocolate cocktails can be sophisticated.
With: Reposado tequila, Dutch white crème de cacao, Americano bianco and lemon juice.
We say: It's incredible how switching between blanco and reposado tequila (even between same brands) changes this cocktail with the blanco version somewhat out-of-kilter when compared to the more rounded, better-balanced repo version.
With: Scotch whisky, dry gin, Dutch white crème de cacao and single cream.
We say: Cream and a touch of rich dark chocolate smooth scotch whisky and gin without smothering them. This may be a creamy drink but it remains 'serious' and far from being a sweetie.
With: Scotch whisky, dark crème de cacao, Dutch white crème de cacao, lime juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Scotch soured with lime (works better than lemon) and sweetened with a touch of chocolate liqueur.
Silk Stocking Cocktail
With: Blanco tequila, Dutch white crème de cacao, grenadine syrup and single cream.
We say: So smooth but still retains a tequila bite and a hint of chocolate and fruit.
With: Añejo tequila, dark crème de cacao, Dutch white crème de cacao, single cream and pasteurised egg white.
We say: Creamy tequila and chocolate this tequila based riff on the classic Brandy Alexander is deliciously indulgent.
With: Acqua Bianca liqueur and Dutch white crème de cacao.
We say: Use a great quality white crème de cacao alongside Acqua Bianca and you'll have a surprisingly well-balanced complex and delicately chocolaty freshening after-dinner cocktail.
Crème Egg Cocktail
With: Vanilla flavoured vodka, vanilla liqueur, Dutch white crème de cacao, advocaat liqueur and single cream.
We say: As befits the name, this chocolate and vanilla vodka-based Easter Egg of a cocktail has both cream and egg - the later in the form of advocaat.
Delmarva Cocktail No.2
With: Bourbon, bianco vermouth, Dutch white crème de cacao and lemon juice.
We say: Bourbon's distinctive character shines through but is softened and flavoured by cacao and a hint of citrus.
With: Maraschino liqueur, cognac, Dutch white crème de cacao and ginger liqueur.
We say: Maraschino cherry aromas strike you first as you enjoy this cognac-laced, subtly chocolate and ginger after-dinner cocktail.
With: Absinthe, single cream, dark crème de cacao and Dutch white crème de cacao.
We say: Absinthe sits majestically with cream and chocolate in this indulgent after-dinner cocktail.
With: Dutch white crème de cacao, orange juice, Galliano, single cream, milk and orange bitters.
We say: This shaken recipe includes orange juice and this gives the otherwise anaemic looking drink its namesake golden hue. The addition of orange bitters helps balance the drink and boost the orange flavour.
With: Bourbon, Dutch white crème de cacao, Barolo Chinato and orange bitters.
We say: Spirit-forward, lightly chocolaty and bourbon-laced with subtle zesty orange and herbal notes.
With: Scotch whisky, cherry brandy liqueur, Dutch white crème de cacao, dry vermouth and orange bitters.
We say: It's not sweet, but it wavers on the sweet side of balanced, so I'd recommend enjoying after a meal.
With: Cachaça, apple juice, fino sherry, Dutch white crème de cacao and orgeat syrup.
We say: Dry sherry, chocolate and coconut add subtle nuances to a base of cachaça and apple juice.
With: Pisco, cognac, Dutch white crème de cacao and sugar syrup.
We say: Use a great pisco and you'll have a wonderfully complex drink.
With: Pisco, Dutch white crème de cacao, Sauvignon blanc wine and fino sherry.
We say: White crème de cacao's sweetness is balanced by dry sherry and the acidity of Sauvignon Blanc wine which also adds grassy floral notes.
Psycho Killer Cocktail
With: Irish whiskey, special ingredient, banana liqueur, Dutch white crème de cacao and absinthe.
We say: This short bittersweet spirituous cocktail makes for a very tasty aperitif.
Ramos Chocolate Fizz
With: Dry gin, Dutch white crème de cacao, orange flower water, vanilla extract, pasteurised egg white, single cream and champagne.
We say: Creamy chocolate vanilla fudge with faint orange and a hint of gin.
With: Celery, aged rum, Dutch white crème de cacao, sugar syrup, lemon juice and apple juice.
We say: Walnut, celery and apple are essential elements to both a Waldorf salad and this tasty Daiquiri.
All editorial and photography on diffordsguide.com is copyright protected
© Odd Firm of Sin 2023