Here's a Chocolate Liqueur Recipe from Italy that you'll love! Pour this chocolate alcohol over cheesecake or ice cream, add it to your coffee or drink it straight! This homemade liqueur makes the perfect gift!
Just in time for the holidays, I give you homemade chocolate liqueur. To pour over your cheesecake, ice cream, waffles or strawberries. To drizzle into your coffee, hot cocoa or shot glass.
Can I get an Amen?
This recipe is straight from Italy, my friends. It's a chocolate lover's dream, turning plain anything into a special treat with a little somethin' somethin' to warm you up.
We enjoy this every time we go to Connecticut to visit my in-laws. All of us, even the kids (the big ones), giddily pour it on our dessert every night.
It's a great way to cap off a delicious meal. Who cares if it takes us a little longer to get up and do the dishes?
This chocolate cello would make a great host/hostess gift or present for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years...oooh, and Valentine's Day is not far away. But anyone who loves chocolate and alcohol would enjoy this all year.
What's chocolate liqueur?
It's heaven in a bottle, Baby. Seriously, it's a sweetened, chocolate-flavored alcoholic beverage that has a rich consistency. Think of it as chocolate sauce for adults.
This chocolate liqueur recipe calls for just five ingredients:
- granulated sugar
- unsweetened cocoa
- whole milk
- grain alcohol (we use Everclear 151)
- vanilla extract
This yields about 12.5 cups of liqueur (100 servings), so don't be alarmed about the quantity of sugar. The drink will be pleasantly sweet, but you'll mostly taste chocolate with alcohol.
What can you substitute for Everclear?
For homemade chocolate liqueur, it's important to use a clear, unflavored, grain alcohol with a high alcohol content (proof). If you can't find Everclear 151, use plain, 100-proof vodka.
Liquor vs. liqueur
Liquor usually refers to a distilled alcohol without any flavoring. Think vodka, whiskey or rum.
Once that base alcohol is mixed with sugar and strong flavoring, it becomes liqueur. Liqueur is usually enjoyed after dinner with dessert.
It's important to note that chocolate liquor actually contains no alcohol. Chocolate liquor is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) term used in chocolate manufacturing. It refers to the pure cocoa mass produced from finely grinding cacao nibs.
How to make chocolate liqueur
- Whisk cocoa and sugar in a large pot.
- Gradually whisk in whole milk.
- Stir constantly over medium heat. Chocolate foam will form on the surface.
- Continue stirring until the foam disappears. The consistency will be thick like pudding that hasn't set.
- Let the chocolate mixture cool, then refrigerate it for 12 hours before stirring in the vanilla. Wait an hour, then stir in the alcohol.
Your chocolate liqueur will be ready to transfer to bottles!
Bottles & equipment needed
Here are the types of items you'll need to make this recipe. All of these are affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
This chocolate liqueur contains milk and will need to be stored in closed bottles or jars in the refrigerator or freezer. It can stay in the refrigerator for up to six months.
For longer storage, you can freeze the chocolate liqueur and thaw it in the refrigerator when you're ready to enjoy it. In any case, shake the bottle before pouring.
This is a great recipe to start in the evening, so you can let the chocolate mixture chill overnight. Then you can finish making it the next day.
This really is the best chocolate liqueur, whether you want to use it as a cheesecake topping, drizzle it over easy fried ice cream or sip it in a stemmed glass! I hope you love it as much as we do.
P.S. If you're looking for other holiday drinks, try Coquito or Cherry Amaretto Sour. You also might enjoy my hubby's Apple Pie Moonshine Recipe and his Lemonade Moonshine, both made with Everclear.
(Recipe Source: My sister-in-law Flora, who got it from her sister Maria in Italy. Originally published on December 18, 2014 and updated now with new photos and text.)
Amazing Chocolate Liqueur Recipe
- 3 ¼ pounds granulated sugar (7 ⅓ cups)
- 10 ½ ounces unsweetened cocoa powder (3 ½ cups; see notes)
- ½ gallon whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 17 ounces grain alcohol (such as Everclear 151 proof)
- 6-quart pot
- glass bottles (12 (8.5 -oz) or 6 (16-oz)
- In a tall pot, combine the cocoa and sugar with a whisk. Add milk a little at a time, stirring as you go.
- Place the pot over medium heat on the stove, stirring constantly. After a few minutes, foam will form on the surface. (If you still don't see foam, increase the heat a bit.)
- Continue stirring constantly until the foam disappears. It will take about 25-30 minutes from the time you first placed the pot on the stove. (If the foam hasn't disappeared completely after 30 minutes, you can use a slotted spoon to scrape off the foam and discard it.) The mixture will look like chocolate pudding that hasn't set.
- Turn off the heat and set the pot on a different burner to cool for 30-60 minutes before placing it, covered, in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
- After the chocolate mixture has chilled, stir in the vanilla. Then, after one hour (the pot can stay out during that time) stir in the alcohol.
- Have your clean glass bottles next to the pot. To fill each bottle, place a funnel in it and ladle in enough liqueur to fill it almost to the top. Cap or cork your bottles and store them in the refrigerator for up to six months or in the freezer for longer. Thaw frozen liqueur in the refrigerator.
- To serve, shake the bottle first and then pour in your glass, coffee, or over your dessert.
The recipe calls for 10.5 oz. of the cocoa and then it shows 3.5 cups. I used 3 packages of 8 oz.plus another half package of the 8 oz. It was not clear. Did I use too much cocoa? I'm refrigerating it now.
Thank you, Francesca
Hi Francesca - The recipe calls for 10.5 ounces of unsweetened cocoa, so if you used 28 ounces, that's nearly three times as much. Dry ingredients like cocoa are measured by weight, and this ingredient has a different conversion rate to cups. 10 1/2 ounces of cocoa equals 3 1/2 cups. Here is a conversion chart showing how cocoa is measured. https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/5490-baking-conversion-chart
Thank you for clarifying this problem! No wonder recipe turned out so thick! How can I fix the problem without throwing all the filled bottles out? If possible. Should I dump the whole thing and start from scratch or can I add more milk to it and start all over again? Help!!!
Hi Francesca - Our recommendation is to start over from scratch. We don't know if you can salvage what you have by simply adding more ingredients. If you want to experiment, you can try with one bottle and add some more milk and the other ingredients.
Thank You for your answer. I will start from scratch!
OK, sounds good!
Do you know if skim milk would work with this recipe?
Hi Traci - It would make the texture thinner. We wouldn't recommend it, but it's up to you if you want to try it.
Just made this, is it supposed to be thick?
It seems very thick compared to other cello II’ve had
Hi Linda - It is somewhat thick but drinkable. You can look at the photos in the post to get an idea of how it should be. There is a photo of me pouring some over ice cream.