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Chocolate Brownie in a Manhattan | The Perfect Combination!

homemade brownies besides a chocolate brownie rum manhattan

Hi, Friends of Cocktails. I’m back to answering questions nobody asked. First inspired by James Hoffman and his quest to make donut-infused milk for coffee, I once made a Donut Old Fashioned, to find out if you can make an Old Fashioned cocktail that coats your mouth with the unmistakable sweet and rich flavor of a donut! It was predictably delicious so I thought if that worked, what else could I combine? Two words: Brownie, Manhattan, Rum. OK, three words.

Today we’ll make a twist on the Rum Manhattan, which is already an amazing twist on the classic, by infusing the rum with a chocolate brownie. I’m pretty sure that’s all I have to say to get you hooked, but I’ll also give you an idea of what you can do with the leftover syrup from maraschino cherries. You know… that syrup you never really know what to do with, after you use up the last cherry for a Manhattan. All of that on today’s edition of Cocktail Time.

Let’s start with a basic Rum Manhattan. I’ll be using La Hechicera Reserva Familiar as the base. This Colombian rum is aged in ex-bourbon barrels giving it plenty of bourbon character, making it perfect for a Manhattan twist. It doesn’t have any sugars added, giving us greater control over the sweet component in the cocktail - this is quite rare for rums nowadays.

ingredients for chocolate rum manhattan cocktail

Rum Manhattan

● 60mL (2oz) La Hechicera Reserva Familiar

● 30mL (1oz) Sweet Vermouth

● 3 dashes Cocktail Time Bitters

● Maraschino Cherry

To a chilled mixing glass add the rum, vermouth and Cocktail Time Bitters - a mix of aromatic, chocolate and orange bitters. Now stir with plenty of ice until well chilled and diluted, then strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a cocktail cherry. And make sure you keep the sweet cherry syrup for later. Let’s give this a try first, cheers!

This wonderful, rich and complex twist should really be tried by all Manhattan and rum lovers. But let’s take it to the next level, shall we? We’ll need some Home-infused Brownie Rum for the base, to which we’ll add the same vermouth as before, Antica Formula, and a mix of bitters, this time just Angostura and orange, since there’s plenty of chocolate from the brownie. And as always, a little saline solution, to enhance the flavors.

For garnish we’ll take a zero-waste approach and make chocolate brownie crackers and maraschino cherry jam from the syrup. Unlike the Donut Old Fashioned, where we infused and milk-washed the whole cocktail, this time we’ll do that with just the rum. That’s because I don't want to lose too much of the herbal character from the vermouth with milk-washing.

Before we put the cocktail together I’ll show you how I made these homemade ingredients, starting with the Brownie Rum.

Brownie Rum

● 240mL (8oz) La Hechicera Reserva Familiar

● 60g Chocolate Brownie

● 7.5mL (0.25oz) 6% Citric Acid Solution

● 40mL (~1.5oz) Milk

Start by adding the rum, brownie and citric acid solution into a blender. We’ll use the same rum for this recipe, since we’ll get enough sweetness from the brownie, the so-called dry style of La Hechicera Reserva Familiar is a great choice. For the brownie you can use store bought or make it from a pre-made brownie mix, but our director Robi went full-on Babish mode and made some from his recipe. So now blend this brownie and rum mixture in a blender for at least 30 seconds.

Making Brownie infused rum is also a great way to use up any brownies in the unlikely case a few pieces were left untouched. Once that’s done, heat up the milk in a saucepan until warm, turn off the heat and pour the rum/brownie mixture into the milk. The acidity we added will make the milk curdle and slowly separate the solid particles from our mixture as well. Now let it sit for 1 hour, then filter the mixture through a coffee filter.

I’ll be using my Chemex, but only after the first few drops, which may not be completely clear. Once the curds create an additional filter, re-filter that first part and give it time for everything to filter through. Once our brownie rum has been filtered, it’s time to bottle it, but make sure you don’t throw away the solid particles, because we’ll use that to make our garnish, and with our base spirit bottled we can move straight into doing that… well, after making some meringue.

Brownie Cracker

● 30g Water

● 3g Powdered Egg White

● 50g Sugar

● 40mL (~1.5oz) Milk

● 1tbsp Leftover Brownie Mix

Start by mixing 30 grams of water with 3 grams of powdered egg white, but you can also use 1 egg white instead of that. Once you see that it’s starting to foam a bit, gradually add the sugar while mixing, until all of it is fully incorporated and melted. Continue to mix until you get meringue with stiff peaks. Give it the ultimate over-the-head test, just to be sure it’s done, and let’s move onto using the rest of our brownie.

In a smaller bowl combine around 1 tablespoon of the leftover filtered brownie mix with some water, to create a liquid mixture. Then scoop the mix into the meringue and fold it in. I also added some dark chocolate powder, but this is optional. Now pour the meringue onto baking paper and distribute it evenly. Because there was some fat in this mixture the meringue will fall a bit so I will spread it into a large disk shape. Then place it in the pre-heated oven at 80 °C or 175 °F for about 1.5 hours.

The time can vary depending on your oven. Open the oven doors a few times during baking to release the steam, and once the brownie cracker is dehydrated, take it out and let it cool completely. Then all you need to do is to tear it into pieces that are suitable for the rim of a glass and store them in an airtight container, or try a piece with some cherry jam. Here’s how you make that.

Cherry Jam

● 100g Maraschino Cherry Syrup

● 2.2g Pectin

● 50g Sugar

● 40mL (~1.5oz) Milk

● 1tbsp Leftover Brownie Mix

Add ¾ of the Cherry Syrup to a saucepan placed on medium heat, to come up to a simmer, the rest of it is used to mix the pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber, used to gel jams, jellies, and gummy candy, where it can be used as a vegan alternative to gelatine. It’s found in fruits and vegetables, especially apples and citrus peels! Once the cherry syrup starts simmering, add in the pectin mixture and stir for everything to mix evenly.

Now leave the mixture to simmer for about 1 minute before taking off the heat and leaving to cool completely. Once cooled enough I’ll transfer it to a piping bag, to make it easier to apply on the cracker later. So place the bag in the fridge since the jam needs to be cooled to stiffen a bit before we can use it on our garnish, and with that we have all components needed to make the Chocolate Brownie Rum Manhattan.

Chocolate Brownie Rum Manhattan

● 60mL (2oz) Brownie Rum

● 22.5mL (0.75oz) Carpano Antica Formula

● 2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

● 1 dash Orange Bitters

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Brownie Cracker

● Cherry Jam

As always, start by chilling the mixing glass, and pour in your ingredients. Stir everything with plenty of ice and you’ll quickly see how the oils from the chocolate brownie turn the cocktail cloudy, as the dilution of the ice drops the temperature. Same thing happened with the Donut Old Fashioned, which is why I served it in an espresso cup. Since this is still a Manhattan I think a coupe glass is more appropriate, cloudy cocktail and all.

As for the garnish, place a zero-waste chocolate brownie cracker on the rim of the glass and add a few drops of our cocktail cherry jam. Beautiful, if I can say so myself. If you have any cool name ideas for this cocktail, or another cocktail idea where this brownie rum would work great in, I would love to know what they are in the comments of the full episode on YouTube, but first let’s give this cocktail a try, cheers!

On the nose you get a wonderful combination of chocolate and sweet vermouth. The smooth rum provides the perfect vehicle for the taste of a brownie to take over on the palate. It has a nice, chocolaty and herbal aftertaste. It’s a real treat and you deserve one. I really hope you’ll try making this fun Manhattan twist, and if you want to learn more about the history of the classic Manhattan, you check that out here. I’ll go finish this delicious cocktail, and I’ll see you next week. Cheers.


Philippe Tulula
Philippe Tulula
Jun 03, 2023

Thanks for a great recipe. Can you explain the advantage using the curdled milk in this process? Why not simply place the brownies and rum in a container and let it infuse for a while?

Kevin Kos
Kevin Kos
Jun 04, 2023
Replying to

The milk clarification rounds a spirit a bit which works perfectly in this cocktail. You are welcome!

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