Chocolate Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Chocolate lovers will adore this Chocolate Old-Fashioned with their favorite bourbon, a hint of zesty orange and lots of chocolate flavor thanks to a splash of chocolate liqueur, chocolate bitters and chocolate garnishes. Velvety and sweet, this whiskey cocktail is a great after-dinner sipper.

Closeup of a chocolate old-fashioned cocktail in a rocks glass with chocolate rim and chocolate out of focus in the background

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Chocolate Old-Fashioned recipe

Whiskey is wonderful for many reasons, but one of my favorites is how well it pairs with so many flavors.

Its canvas of tasting notes — oak, caramel, smoke, molasses, vanilla and more — offers room for pairing with a spectrum of complementary flavors.

From herbal peppermint in the Mint Julep to sour citrus in the Whiskey Sour to spicy ginger in the Kentucky Mule, there are few flavors whiskey doesn’t pair well with.

Chocolate is another delicious pairing, bringing out the sweet caramel and vanilla flavors in bourbon.

This chocolate old-fashioned celebrates this duo, with a hint of coffee and orange zest.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • With three kinds of chocolate added to your favorite bourbon, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream.
  • Bourbon lovers will adore it for its twist on the classic old-fashioned.
  • It’s easy to make with just a few ingredients.

Serve it after a holiday meal or whip it up as the perfect date night cocktail. Enjoy it after dinner for a dessert drink or a tasty nightcap.

An overhead view of a cocktail surrounded by chocolate squares

What is an old-fashioned?

The old-fashioned is a classic cocktail made with any type of whiskey — usually bourbon — or another strong spirit like mezcal or aged rum.

Old-fashioned cocktails are spirit-forward, meaning they are heavy on the alcohol. They shouldn’t have any mixers like sour mix or soda.

(Though there is such a thing called a Wisconsin old-fashioned, which does contain club soda. Drink at your own risk though.)

Old-fashioneds include small amounts of added flavor, usually in the form of orange zest, a cocktail cherry, some kind of bitters and a sweetener such as a sugar cube or simple syrup.

This chocolate old-fashioned includes a splash of chocolate liqueur and chocolate bitters, plus a few garnishes if you want to make a statement.

Ingredients

You only need a few ingredients to make your chocolate old-fashioned. Here’s what to grab from the liquor store and grocery store:

Whiskey

If you have a favorite bourbon, use it here! I love Old Forester for its sweet caramel flavor it brings to a drink at a good price, but there are many more options out there that would be equally delicious.

Check out my Bourbon 101 guide if you need help picking a brand to buy.

Two bottles of chocolate liqueur, one dark and one colorless.

Chocolate liqueur

Chocolate liqueur lends its sweet, chocolate notes to the whiskey.

Crème de cacao is a sweet, chocolate-flavored liqueur. It comes in a clear version and a dark brown color.

The clear version will keep your old-fashioned cocktail looking more whiskey-like, whereas the dark-colored version will have a more chocolatey vibe. Up to you!

bottles of bitters laying on a grey and white stripe kitchen towel

Bitters

Bitters are essential to any old-fashioned cocktail.

Chocolate bitters is what gives this cocktail it’s melted chocolate flavor. It gives it a balance with the sweetness of the burnt sugar syrup and bourbon.

There are a number of bitters brands selling chocolate bitters. Here are a few of my favorites:

Coffee bitters are a bit harder to find, so they’re definitely optional. But if you’re up for growing your bitters collection, they’re wonderful in so many drinks.

Orange zest

Old-fashioneds often include a twist of orange peel. The sour essential oils from zest lend themselves well to balancing the sweetness of the chocolate liqueur and whiskey.

However, it does produce a chocolate orange flavor in this drink, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. (People either love a Terry’s chocolate orange or they don’t!)

If you don’t love chocolate and orange together, simply skip this ingredient.

And if you love the chocolate-orange flavor, you can add a few dashes of orange bitters to the drink too.

chocolate syrup being poured into a glass jar with a gold spoon laying to the left

Garnishes

What’s a cocktail without a garnish?! Definitely consider adding a garnish or two to this drink, especially if you want a gorgeous dessert presentation.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Rim the glass in chocolate syrup. (I love making it at home with cocoa powder.)
  • A rim of chocolate sprinkles would also be fun.
  • Place a chocolate cookie (like a Pocky chocolate biscuit stick) on top
  • Add a chocolate candy like a Reese’s cup to the rim.
  • Use a Microplane to add grated chocolate on top.

Glassware

Old-fashioneds are usually served in an old-fashioned glass AKA a rocks glass.

They are short tumblers, often decorated with etching or unique patterns.

Rocks glasses are a must-have for old-fashioned cocktails.

A rocks glass with a chocolate rim holds a cocktail and large ice cube with chocolate on a plate to the left and a sea foam dish towel to the right

How to make a Chocolate Old-Fashioned

Making this chocolate whiskey cocktail is so easy! Here’s what to do:

First, grab a rocks glass (affiliate link). If you want to garnish it with chocolate syrup, pour some on a plate and gently roll the rim in it (or part of the rim). Holding it upside down, let any excess drip off.

Add the chocolate liqueur and bourbon to the glass and stir together. (You can also mix them together in a mixing glass with a bar spoon, then pour into the glass.)

Carefully lower in a large ice cube. Add a few dashes of bitters.

Garnish with a piece of orange zest and a chocolate cookie, if desired.

An overhead view shows a chocolate old fashioned garnished with a chocolate straw. Pieces of chocolate sit around on a white background.

Variations and substitutions

Chocolate peanut butter old-fashioned: Use peanut butter whiskey to make a peanut butter cocktail that tastes like a Reese’s cup.

Mocha old-fashioned: Use ¼ ounce coffee liqueur and ¼ ounce chocolate liqueur. Use chocolate bitters and coffee bitters if you can! You could also add a splash of espresso.

Mint chocolate old-fashioned: Use mint-infused whiskey or add a splash of crème de menthe. Garnish with your favorite chocolate mint candy.

Mexican chocolate old-fashioned: Use cinnamon bitters or Mexican chocolate bitters to add some spiced flair.

More old-fashioned recipes

Closeup of a chocolate old-fashioned cocktail in a rocks glass with chocolate rim and chocolate out of focus in the background

Chocolate Old-Fashioned

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Make a chocolate old-fashioned, a bourbon dessert cocktail made with three kinds of chocolate flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ½ ounce chocolate liqueur
  • 4-6 dashes chocolate
  • 2 dashes coffee bitters, optional
  • 2 dashes orange bitters, optional
  • 1 piece orange zest, for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon chocolate syrup, for garnish

Instructions

  1. If using a chocolate syrup garnish, add chocolate syrup to a plate. Roll the edge of the glass in the syrup and shake off excess.
  2. In a rocks glass or mixing glass, stir together chocolate liqueur and bourbon.
  3. Carefully lower in a large ice cube.
  4. Top with bitters and garnish with a piece of orange zest. Twist the zest over the drink before you add it to release its essential oils and aroma.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 3 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g

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