Cocoa Old-Fashioned

Cocoa Old-Fashioned in a glass, garnished with orange peel and a cherry

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Infuse: 36 hrs
Total: 36 hrs 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
223 Calories
0g Fat
15g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 223
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 11mg 53%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 49mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Add a little chocolate to your old-fashioned with a chocolate-infused rye whiskey. Recipes like this are one of the great things about a drink like the classic old-fashioned; it's a perfect base for some wonderful and very tasty experiments. Joy Richard of The Franklin Café in Boston created this one and it's definitely a winner.

Chocolate is the featured flavor in her cocoa old-fashioned, but it comes via two interesting sources. First up is a rye whiskey, which obtains its chocolaty flavor from a three-day infusion of cacao nibs. The second chocolate element is a few dashes of bitters, which adds a sweet and spicy touch that works wonderfully with the drink.

Unlike other chocolate drinks, this is not sweet. Instead, it's a nicely balanced drink that may transform your thoughts of what chocolate can do in cocktails.


For the Chocolate-Infused Whiskey:

  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle rye whiskey

  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

For the Cocktail:

Steps to Make It

Make the Chocolate-Infused Rye Whiskey

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chocolate-Infused Rye Whiskey ingredients, a bottle rye whiskey and cacao nibs

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In an infusion jar, add cacao nibs and fill the jar with rye whiskey.

    Cacao nibs and rye whiskey in a jar

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Shake well and allow the infusion to set for 3 days, or until you get a nice, balanced flavor.

    Cacao nibs and rye whiskey in a closed jar

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Once it reaches your desired flavor intensity, strain out the nibs and rebottle the whiskey. It can be stored like any other whiskey.

    Chocolate-Infused Rye Whiskey in a bottle and cacao nibs in a strainer

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • Cacao nibs (lightly processed beans) are now relatively easy to find because they're popularly used in granola and smoothies. A search online or in the grocery store should turn up a number of options. You can use either roasted or chocolate-covered nibs in the infusion.
  • Nearly any whiskey will work for the infusion, though the spiciness of rye is a great backdrop for the sweet chocolate. Experiment with a few brands and styles to see which you prefer.

Make the Cocoa Old-Fashioned

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cocoa Old-Fashioned ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In an old-fashioned glass, add one brandied cherry and half an orange slice along with the demerara syrup and mole bitters. Muddle well.

    Muddle one brandied cherry and half an orange slice along with the demerara syrup and mole bitters in an old-fashioned glass

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Fill the glass with ice and add the cocoa-infused whiskey.

    Chocolate-Infused Rye Whiskey and ice in a glass

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Stir lightly.

    Chocolate-Infused Rye Whiskey in a glass with ice and a spoon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Garnish with the remaining cherry and orange slice along with zest of an orange if desired. Serve and enjoy.

    Cocoa Old-Fashioned in a glass, garnished with fruit

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variation

  • As an alternative to a brandied cherry, muddle a fresh cherry or a real maraschino. Avoid the bright red maraschinos as they're artificially dyed and flavored after bleaching. Your drink would be better off without the cherry.

How Strong Is a Cocoa Old-Fashioned?

Most old-fashioneds are simply a way to dress up and show off the whiskey, so there's not much to knock the alcohol content down. Just a little lighter than the whiskey's bottling strength, this recipe mixes up to 29 percent ABV (58 proof).