You can use this rich and flavorful homemade Crème de Cacao in many dessert cocktails like the Brandy Alexander, Chocolate Martini, or a Grasshopper drink. Even served on its own, the liqueur is an excellent dessert drink.
And while many cocktail and mixology trends come and go, chocolate liqueur or Crème de Cacao always stays en vogue. Making your own DIY Crème de Cacao is easy, and you can balance the booziness and sweetness of the liqueur to your liking.
And if that's not reason enough, your homemade version is much more flavorful and has fewer toxins than store-bought bottles.
- 1 64oz Mason jar
- 25 oz Aged Rum
- 16 oz Demerara sugar
- 9 oz Cacao nibs
- 1 Vanilla bean - (or vanilla extract)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Roast cacao nibs in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes to make them fragrant.
- Put Aged Rum, vanilla bean, and cacao nibs into a mason jar. Shake it to mix the ingredients before storing it in a cool and dark place.
- Check on the rum and cacao infusion every other day and give it a quick shake.
- After 14 days, strain with the help of a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
- Add Demerara sugar and salt and stir until both are dissolved.
- Bottle the liqueur and let it rest for another two days in the fridge. This final step guarantees that sugar and booze are blended nicely. The liqueur also matures in flavor in these two days, so make sure to really wait 48 hours before you put your DIY Crème de Cacao to the test.
What is Crème de Cacao?
Crème de Cacao is a chocolate-flavored liqueur with a long history. It's probably one of the oldest liqueurs in the world, dating back to the 1600s.
Almost 400 years ago, French monks started producing Crème de Cacao with the first cocoa beans imported from Mexico and South America.
At first, the monks produced the liqueur to cure several illnesses. But soon, people began to enjoy the bittersweet taste and started drinking Crème de Cacao without a medical reason.
Despite the word "Crème," the liqueur does not contain any form of dairy. Instead, in French, the term Crème liqueur refers to alcoholic beverages with a relatively high amount of sugar. This category also contains other popular representatives like Creme de Menthe, Crème de Cassis, or Crème de Yvette.
Crème de Cacao itself is available in dark and white versions.
How to use it?
Bartenders typically use chocolate liqueurs like Crème de Cacao in chocolate cocktails. However, besides drinks, there are many other ways how you make use of your DIY liqueur. Here's some inspiration:
- Drizzle it over ice cream or whipped cream garnish
- Use it as a topping for homemade pancakes or waffles
- Use it to spike hot chocolate
- Add it to milkshakes to add a boozy chocolate flavor
Ingredients in homemade Crème de Cacao
The list of ingredients for this liqueur is short and sweet. You'll need:
- Aged Rum - Other recipes also use Vodka as the base spirit, but I found, rum makes this liqueur a lot richer and bolder in taste.
- Cacao nibs - These nibs are a must for making the liqueur. Cacao nibs are pieces of roasted cacao beans. The roasting process makes them more fragrant. And to get all the flavor out of them, you will need to roast them again for this homemade Crème de Cacao.
- Vanilla beans - You can also use vanilla extract, but I prefer real beans.
- Demerara sugar - Demerara sugar offers much more flavor than regular sugar or simple syrup. Plus, it pairs well with aged rum.
- A pinch of salt - A pinch of salt is required just for balance. It's so marginal that you won't taste it in the final Crème de Cacao.
You can get cacao nibs in most grocery stores. If yours doesn't have them, you can also order them online.
How to make DIY Crème de Cacao
Making your own Crème de Cacao isn't that hard. Before you start, roast the cacao nibs in the oven at 350°F until fragrant (about 5 minutes). The most challenging part of the whole process is probably the waiting time. To properly infuse the chocolate flavor into the rum, the mix needs to rest for about 8 to 14 days.
Every other day, you check on the rum and cacao nibs mix and give it a quick shake. After 3 to 4 days, you'll see white and cloudy stuff in the mix. But don't worry, it's not gone bad. That's just the cacao butter in the nibs.
After 14 days, you need to strain the mixture. Do that with the help of coffee filters or cheesecloth. The resulting liquid should be free of any solid particles.
Now you have a chocolate-infused rum that already tastes amazing. However, adding a bit of sweetness will make this liquor even better.
So, in the final step, pour in the Demerara sugar and salt. Stir the mix until both ingredients dissolve. If your patience runs out, you can fasten the process by putting it over low heat while stirring. Just be careful not to boil the mix.
Making sweeter or less sweet Crème de Cacao
The beauty of homemade products is that you can adjust them to your taste. -If the liqueur is too strong for you, use a lower-proof rum. If it's too sweet, use less sugar, and vice versa.
How much alcohol is in homemade Crème de Cacao?
Ultimately, the amount of alcohol by volume in our DIY Crème de Cacao depends on the rum you use as a base. In our recipe, using a 40% ABV rum (80 proof), the resulting Crème de Cacao contains 24% ABV. Using a 45% ABV rum (90 proof) will get you a liqueur of 27% ABV.
Keep in mind that if you reduce the amount of sugar, the ABV will increase.
Other homemade liqueurs
Homemade liqueurs are amazingly easy to make and are perfect gifts for your loved ones. Who wouldn't love a homemade chocolate liqueur?
But there are plenty more liqueurs you can make at home. Some of our favorites are listed below.