Chocolate Wine: A look at existing recipes

I discussed two possible styles of chocolate wine, in my most recent post on the subject, and did a little thinking out loud about how much chocolate I might use in each one. I’ve been searching for existing recipes, since then, to see how other people have approached it. There aren’t many, but I found a few mead recipes. There was pretty broad agreement on using between 3 and 4 oz of cocoa per gallon of must (22 – 30 g/L). This agrees with the 3 oz/gallon that I arrived at in my previous chocolate wine posting. One outlier, “Love Potion #9,” called for 8 oz/gallon (60 g/L) and 4-6 drops of vanilla extract. One recipe that kept coming up in my searches, it looks like a proven one that’s all over the internet, is Lord Rhys Chocolate Mead. This one calls for 3.2 oz/gallon (90 g/L) of cocoa and one part honey to four parts water.

An aspect I hadn’t considered: Chocolate as an aphrodisiac

I contacted the author of this famous chocolate mead, and he insisted on using cocoa over other forms of chocolate. We both came to the same conclusion about baking chocolate, that it was essentially cocoa plus cocoa butter. Since the cocoa butter is insoluble and doesn’t add anything, cocoa or extract make better choices. I had been leaning towards extract, but his explanation for preferring cocoa got me thinking,

Chocolate extract is basically the essence of the flavor extracted with alcohol, you get the flavor, but not the enzymes that make chocolate excite the endorphines.

I should mention that he subtitled his recipe “liquid sex,” and included warnings about attracting “hordes of chocolate-crazed women.” Well, my whole chocolate winemaking adventure began when I thought about making a wine for Valentine’s Day …

Chocolate extract: Less is more?

Larry Paterson, a Canadian winemaker who goes by the nickname “little fat wino,” has done some extensive work on chocolate in wine. He is just as convinced as Lord Rhys is about cocoa, that chocolate extract is the only way to go,

it manages well, doesn’t complicate issues by adding fat to the wine, filters cleanly, leaves a clean flavour and in my experience doesn’t cause any bad effects

Those are all excellent reasons, and he is very persuasive. No hordes of crazed women, though, so I’ll have to give this some thought.

Don’t miss future articles on chocolate wine

I think I have enough information to put together a recipe using cocoa, but I don’t have a good idea of how much extract to use. So as I continue this series, I’ll do some research on chocolate extract. Later, I’ll formulate some recipes with extract and cocoa. To make sure you don’t miss any of it, subscribe to this blog. It’s free and easy, and you’ll get every article without having to keep checking back.

Have you made chocolate wine or mead? Do you have ideas on how to make it? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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10 thoughts on “Chocolate Wine: A look at existing recipes

  1. Shelby

    My one thought on this matter is the difference in brewing between regular cocoa (like from the Hershey’s can in the supermarket) and ‘Dutch Cocoa’ which is processed with alkali and often has a more pronounced chocolate flavor. My favorite for hot chocolate would be the Pernigotti Cocoa available from William-Sonoma, among other places.

    Now, as to the appropriateness of chocolate in the SCA, I’ll leave to people who care. This is a great blog, btw.

  2. Erroll Post author

    Hi Shelby,

    Harold McGee, in his book On Food and Cooking, talks about Dutch cocoa. He says that it dissolves more easily than ordinary cocoa and has a milder flavor. I always read “milder” as “less chocolaty,” but after your comments I wonder if he meant “less astringent” or “less bitter.”

    Thank you for sharing that and for the kind words about my blog.


  3. John

    Hey, Erroll. I thought I’d give you an update on how my chocolate wine is doing, and maybe pick your brain a bit if you are amenable to it.
    Here’s what I did:

    I put between 3.5 and 4.0 oz. (My digital scale was acting all glitchy on me) of Hershey’s Cocoa to one Gallon of water. I added granular white sugar to a SG of 1.102 (my target was 1.090-1.110) which amounted to 2 lb. 7 oz. sugar. I added yeast nutrient and pot meta and let it sit overnight. Then on 7-31-08 I pitched rehydrated Red Star Montrachet yeast. It went into vigorous fermentation farily quickly, and now I am in day 7 with no slow down in sight. If anything, the fermentation has gained momentum instead of slowing down.

    This concoction really stinks, too! Kinda has an oder like stinky feet or sweat. My wife is quite dubious about this batch, even though she really liked my wild blackberry wine which I just pulled off.
    How is your chocolate wine coming? Did you decide to start a batch? Have you had anything similar to my experience with it? I am very interested in what you did and how you did it, if you don’t mind sharing. Thanks, and great blog! I enjoy your perspective on winemaking.

  4. Erroll Post author

    John, it sounds to me like everything is on track. Wine smells good after its fermented out and aged. Before that, all bets are off.

    I’m sorry to say that my own chocolate wine hasn’t gotten off the ground yet. Believe me, I’m very more anxious to get started, but we all have to deal with life’s little distractions from time to time.


  5. John


    If you’d like, I can keep you posted on how this experimental batch comes out. I know you are busy (as we all are), but if you have the time sometime could you please point me in the direction of the “Love Potion #9” chocolate recipe you mentioned? That would be much appreciated.

    Keep up the great blog. I love it!

    – John

  6. Juliette

    My friends know I love to cook with wine and liqueurs. Someone bought me a bottle of ChocoVine from Holland. The bottle said the product contains grape wine, artificial flavor, color and cream. Then under the list, it says “chocolate & wine.” The label also says, “the taste of dutch chocolate and fine red wine.” I want to cook something with it, but I’m clueless. It doesn’t appear to have any chocolate in it. Help!

  7. Erroll Post author

    Hi Juliette,

    You made me think of that quote, “I like to cook with wine. Sometimes I even put some in the food.” I think that was W C Fields. Anyway, I do cook with wine sometimes, but it’s not something I know a lot about. How does the ChocoVine taste on it’s own?


  8. John Hance

    I’ve been known to use a cheap red table wine as a base for chicken and vegetables (along with many other foods). You might enjoy using the ChocoVine on fish… I personally haven’t used that wine, but I’ve often wondered how it tastes. Never thought to cook with it, though. Let us know how it turns out and what you decided to do, Juliette!

  9. Deidre

    Hi! I’ve ben making wines for a little while, and thought a chocolate wine would be interesting. I been reading the blogs and comments. John, I know it’s been 3 years, but was your wine a success? Has anyone else made chocolate wine? I’m having a tough time finding a recipe for wine. Mead, yes, but not wine. I’d appreciate any info.


  10. Robert

    Last week I tasted a chocolate wine in a small town in Nicaragua. Somebody’s grandmother had made it. It was totally delicious. I don’t have the recipe but I know that she roasted the coco beans and made the chocolate herself. The sugar had to have been panella or a crude unrefined sugar because the wine had a taste that was a cross between chocolate and rum.

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