Chocolita's Pine Pollen & Lemon Chocolate-inspired flip

Confession time... I'm a total Kickstarter addict.  I buy tons of crap I don't need, whether it's a new microcontroller (I'm also an Internet of Things junkie), yet another pair of headphones (did I mention I'm an audiophile?) or food (we know I like food).  It's borderline compulsive behavior.

The good news is I occasionally come across cool stuff, like chocolate made by Chocolita.

Chocolita's Pine Pollen & Lemon chocolate is one of the most fascinating things I've tasted in a while.  It's like creamy, cocoa-y, salty-crunchy liquid sunlight you can put in the palm of your hand.  Or if you're raw food chef Joy Love Light, whom Chocolita proudly quotes on the product details page, "Pine Pollen Lemon Sexxx in my mouth!!!"


But seriously – pollen!  Like the stuff bees go around and collect on their quest to produce delicious honey!  How could that be bad?  (Um, actually.  Some people have anaphylactic reactions to pollen, so feel free to omit that ingredient.)

Three other things that are relevant before we get to the drink part:
You can see where I'm going with this.

My first attempt wasn't great.  I poured the oat whiskey and limoncello over ice and stirred, then strained it over ice in a pollen-rimmed glass and added a shit-ton of chocolate bitters. Whoa, was it bad.  Some reflections:
  1. First, the limoncello was too overpowering, but I still needed the lemon flavor, so I cut it with actual lemon juice.  Much better, but missing... creaminess.
  2. Adding actual cream at this point would curdle with the lemon juice (gross), so I shook it up with an egg white (and later decided to just do a whole egg) to make more of a flip.  Much better, but not chocolatey enough.
  3. Now, because I apparently like my life to be overly complicated, I decided that nothing less than homemade white creme de cacao would do, so I rocked this recipe for white creme de cacao from The Drink Blog and hung it up for two weeks while I waited for magic to happen.  
  4. Meanwhile, the pollen was interesting but bland.  Since I already had cocoa nibs on hand (because why wouldn't you make dark creme de cacao while you're at it), I ground the pollen with some cocoa nibs, a teeny tiny bit of granulated sugar, and the slightest bit of salt.  This still wasn't chocolatey enough, so you can chop up some actual chocolate in place of the nibs, or just chuck the whole idea and get some of Chocolita's deliciousness, chop it up and rim the glass with that.

Here's where I'm at, which is actually pretty delicious:

For the rim, you could just chop up a small bar of Chocolita's Pine Pollen & Lemon, or you could go like this:
  • 1 tsp pine pollen (Chocolita uses Surthrival)
  • 1/2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 oz cocoa nibs milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • lemon wedge or honey to get things to stick
for the beverage:
  • 1.5 oz Koval oat whiskey (toasted if you can find it)
  • 1 oz white creme de cacao
  • .5 oz limoncello
  • .5 oz lemon juice*
  • 1 egg white
  • chocolate bitters
Prep your glass – chill a coupe or short rocks glass.

Chop up the dry ingredients for the rim into a coarse powder and transfer to a flat plate wide enough to accommodate the rim of your glass.  Rim the glass with honey or a lemon wedge, then press the rim into the powder to coat.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add whiskey and liqueurs.  Shake vigorously until very cold, then strain into a glass temporarily. Dump ice from the shaker and pour the mixture back into it. Crack the egg into the shaker, seal, and dry shake** vigorously. Pour into your glass and freely dash in some chocolate bitters before serving.

*Pro tip #1: Always use fresh-squeezed juice. Like from an actual fresh fruit. The stuff you get out of the little bottles vaguely shaped like the fruit is shit. Invest in one of these while you're at it.
**Pro tip #2: Dry shaking mixes everything up without watering it down while also aerating it (in the case of cream or eggs, it's a bit like whipping it). This particular method is reverse dry shaking, which apparently results in a foamier, frothier texture.

What's next (with updates):

  1. Florals. I'm considering dispensing with the limoncello and using some flowery liqueur instead, like elderflower or Koval's Chrysanthemum and Honey Liqueur.  (5/21/17: tried elderflower liqueur.  This is very delicious, but much too flowery to be in the spirit of the original concept.  Feel free to try it anyway, although I'd use more like .25 oz.)
  2. Because "that's too chocolate-y," said no one, ever.  The pollen is also a really nice touch, but the cocoa nibs aren't enough to flavor it up.  I'm considering grinding up chocolate with the pollen and salt, then plastering it on the rim. (5/21/17: that was a delicious idea, if I do say so myself.  Recipe updated accordingly.)
  3. Who you callin' a cocoa nut??  I'd like to try making the creme de cacao with coconut sugar since that's truer to the Pine Pollen & Lemon chocolate bar flavor.  For this batch, I used granulated sugar – given I was going to have to wait two weeks as it was, I wasn't willing to risk altering the recipe. (5/21/17: um, i'm still working on the last batch. I guess we'll see someday.)

I'll keep you posted.