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.
Hello! Your recipe says 10 1/2 oz = 2 1/4 cups? (My calculator says less like 1.32 cups)
How many cups should it be for the grain alcohol? Thanks
Hi Peter - The recipe says 17 ounces of grain alcohol. That's 2 cups + 1 ounce. That is a liquid measured by volume. The dry ingredients like cocoa powder are measured by weight, but each ingredient has a different conversion rate to cups. I was incorrect in my conversion of the dry ingredients, although their weights are correct. 10 1/2 ounces of cocoa equals 3 1/2 cups and 3 1/4 pounds of sugar equals 7 1/3 cups. Here is a baking conversion chart. I updated the recipe card. Thanks for your question.
Have you made this liqueur with additional flavors such as cherry? I was looking for a fairly uncomplicated chocolate cherry liqueur recipe and came across this one. I am pairing it with chocolate cherry fudge. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you.
Hi Toni - We have not tried it with cherry added. My hubby's suggestion is to add some cherry extract with the vanilla. If you purchase the extract through that link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Let me know if you try this! It sounds delicious.
Never mind. Just saw that I can. Lol
Hi Char - OK. Enjoy!
Can vodka e substituted for ever clear?
Is the serving size 1 oz? for the nutritional facts? Thanks 🙂
Hi Leah - Yes, one ounce per serving.
I am making this for favors for a bridal shower, can I refrigerate it instead of freezing, maybe a week before the shower?
Hi Amy - What a fun idea for a bridal shower! Yes, as the recipe states, you can refrigerate the chocolate liqueur for up to six months.
It would be helpful if the measurements of the cocoa and sugar were in cups instead of ounces and pounds.
Hi Sue - I just added that info in the recipe card. It's 7 1/3 cups of sugar and 3 1/2 cups of cocoa.
I have someone with a milk allergy. Do you know if coconut, almond, or cashew milk can be used as a substitute in something like this?
Hi Sary - We've never tried any alternative milk in this recipe. I think it would work, but it would change the flavor a bit. If cashew milk is something he/she enjoys, that would probably give this a nice creaminess. Let me know if you try it. Maybe do a smaller batch with the cashew milk?
Is the unsweetened cocoa powder or is it chunks of unsweeten chocolate??
Hi Beth - It's the unsweetened cocoa powder. I updated the recipe to make it more clear.
Hi I tried making this and after 35min it still had foam any suggestions
Susan, you could try cooking it a little longer, and if the foam is still there, I'd scrape it off with a slotted spoon and proceed with the recipe.
Yikes I just realized I added the vanilla to soon do you think it will affect the recipe
I don't think so.
Does it have to be refrigerated after making? For Christmas I'd have to make at least sixteen bottles of the stuff. Don't have room in my fridge for that amount.
Paul, this does have to be refrigerated or frozen, because of the milk. We use 750 ml bottles and store them in our freezer until we're ready to give them out. Is there any way you can make the liqueur a day or two before you need it and store the bottles in a cooler with ice?
You say this recipe serves ten. Does that mean you end up with 10 - 750 ml from just one recipe?!
I'm planning to make this weekend for holiday gifts.
10 - 750 ml bottles*
Great question, Maureen! I updated the recipe card to show it makes 12 (8.5 oz) bottles or six (16-oz) bottles.