If you enjoy a spirit-forward Old Fashioned, and you also enjoy the classic flavors of Valentine’s Day, give this Chocolate Cherry Cognac Old Fashioned a go! Unlike the average Valentine’s cocktail, this silky smooth, elegant sip is full of flavor without being overly sweet.
This cocktail is for the imbiber with a preference for spirit-forward and strong. However, real chocolate flavor and top quality brandy make this one easier to sip than the average Old Fashioned. Cherry bitters round out the layers of flavor and emphasize the naturally fruity flavor of the cognac.
Choose a high quality crème de cacao
The chocolate liqueur chosen makes a big difference with the end result, so go for a premium crème de cacao like Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao a la Vanille. This is my preferred crème de cacao because of its rich, authentic chocolate flavor that’s nicely balanced with vanilla. It works beautifully in cocktails without ever feeling too sweet. And it’s a treat on the rocks!
No spirit says l’amour to me more than cognac, so this would be my top choice for a pre-dinner or even after-dinner cocktail for Valentine’s Day celebrations. Or an average Thursday night.
With so many Valentine’s Day cocktails being focused on bright pinks and reds, or super-decadent-rich-and-creamy, this one is a bit more of the strong, silent type. Serve this Old Fashioned in a brandy balloon for an extra sexy Valentine’s sip.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Cognac or brandy of choice
- Creme de cacao
- Cherry bitters
How to make it perfect every time
I’ve heard some folks say they don’t like Old Fashioneds because they’re too strong, or too syrupy. A properly mixed Old Fashioned shouldn’t be either of these things. The drink is meant to showcase the flavor of the liquor by adding just a touch of sweetness, a dash or two of bitters, and the correct amount of dilution. Let’s break down how to get a great drink every time you make one.
Measure your ingredients
A cocktail like the Old Fashioned must be measured accurately. If you don’t have a bar jigger, no worries! Simply use tablespoons and/or a measuring cup instead. Two ounces is the equivalent of a quarter cup. One ounce is an eighth of a cup (or two tablespoons). A quarter ounce is the same as one and a half teaspoons.
Use plenty of ice
It’s important to use enough ice when stirring or shaking a cocktail. You can learn all about ice and how it affects drinks in my article How to Make the Best Cocktail Ice.
Using enough ice will ensure that your drink is cold and properly diluted. Using too little ice actually leads to a more watered down drink because it melts more quickly.
Stir and strain over fresh ice
Pour your ingredients into a mixing glass (a pint glass works fine). Then add enough ice to fill the glass at least three quarters. Use a long handled spoon (or a butter knife) to stir. To dilute the drink enough, you’ll need to stir for longer than you think. About thirty rotations (or when the glass is thoroughly chilled and starts to frost over) will do the trick.
Strain the liquid over fresh ice. Be sure to strain your cocktail from the ice in the mixing glass over fresh ice in your rocks glass or snifter. This will keep the drink extra cold and prevent over-dilution.
It’s so important to finish any Old Fashioned with a citrus twist! The expressed oils of an orange peel make a dramatic difference on the flavor of the drink, no matter what spirit or sweetener you use to make yours. Learn more about citrus garnishes in my How to Make Cocktail Garnishes for Beginners.
This Valentine’s-inspired Old Fashioned takes things a step further by garnishing with a chocolate truffle and an edible flower, but these aren’t nearly as important as that simple orange twist.
You may also enjoy these other brandy cocktails:
And more Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes:
Chocolate Cherry Cognac Old Fashioned
- 2 oz cognac
- 1/4 – 1/2 oz creme de cacao I used Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao a la Vanille
- 3 dashes cherry bitters I used Owl & Whale
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill 3/4 with ice.
- Stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice (or one large cube).
- Garnish with an expressed orange twist and a chocolate truffle.
First published February 6, 2020. Last updated February 3, 2022.