Cocoa Old-Fashioned

Cocoa Old-Fashioned With Chocolate-Infused Rye Whiskey

The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Infusion: 36 hrs
Total: 36 hrs 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving

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.


Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cocktail is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.

Make the Chocolate-Infused Rye Whiskey

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

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


  • 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. In an old-fashioned glass, add the brandied cherry, orange slice, demerara syrup, and mole bitters. Muddle well.

  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the infused whiskey.

  3. Stir lightly.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

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).