Steven Stone wants you to know he doesn’t just add chocolate flavoring to his vodka and call it a liqueur. Stone, the founder and head distiller at Seattle’s Sound Spirits, takes real cacao nibs from nearby Theo Chocolate and distills it with the vodka base, resulting in a surprisingly clear spirit. “All of the chocolate color gets left behind in the still,” says Stone. “All of the chocolate flavor comes across with the vapor.”
The Depth Liqueur Cacao evokes college snow-day flashbacks of the popular Polar Bear “cocktail”—typically comprised of peppermint schnapps shaken with hot chocolate in a flask or mug. Sound Spirits’ chocolate liqueur is certainly more complex and elegant with a creamy milk chocolate nose and a rich and viscous (but not cloying) palate. The liqueur finishes smooth with sweet mint, a quick hit of alcohol and chocolate to warm it all.
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