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White Creme de Cacao is This Easy to Make!

Updated: Apr 25



Hello, Friends of Cocktails. With the release of the new Willy Wonka movie, I thought you might like to enjoy something chocolate-y yourself. So today we’re making homemade cacao liqueur, more specifically in the style of white crème de cacao, then I’ll make two delicious cocktails with it: one creme de cacao classic, and a Negroni for people who aren’t a fan of Negronis!


You’ll only need 5 simple ingredients to make this cacao liqueur and I’ll show you 2 different techniques, one with a blender and one with a sous vide, then we’ll try them side-by-side to see if there’s a difference. To have a benchmark, I’ll compare the results with De Kuyper's Dutch Cacao, a liqueur made with Criollo cacao nibs, ceylon cinnamon, vanilla, and spiced with arrack from Indonesia. 


Dutch Cacao has 24% ABV and it was made in partnership with Joerg Meyer, owner of Le Lion Bar de Paris in Hamburg and the creator of the famous Gin Basil Smash - he actually gave me this exact bottle at the BCB in Berlin, so thank you, Joerg! Before we start though, let’s first give it a try to see what we’re up against, shall we? 


It has a clear, very pale straw golden color and there’s plenty of cocoa and chocolate notes on the aroma. It’s full-bodied with a strong chocolate truffle and cacao butter taste. Vanilla, cinnamon and arrack also add a nice richness, with everything being well balanced. Being a creme de cacao it’s of course still on the sweeter side, but nowhere near the cheap stuff available in stores where I live. All in all, great job, Joerg! 


Hopefully we can get close to this with our homemade versions, but I’ll first show you the instant version using a blender. You can see a similar recipe used by Derek over on the Make and Drink channel here, but I’ll use BOTRAN Reserva Blanca, an aged and filtered rum from Guatemala. Vanilla will accentuate the chocolate notes and will not be as prominent as you’d think. We’ll of course also need sugar and water… that’s it. It’s Cocktail Time!



White Creme de Cacao (Blender method)

● 140g Cacao Butter

● 350mL BOTRAN Reserva Blanca Rum

● 0,7g Vanilla Bean

● 140g Water

● 110g Sugar


Add your ingredients into a blender, and if you’re using vanilla extract, essence, or paste make sure you’re not overpowering other flavors, so start with less and make notes for the next batch. Now blend on high speed for at least 30 seconds or until you see everything is blended into a homogeneous mixture, then filter out the solids using a rinsed coffee filter to get our instant white creme de cacao. Bottle, label, and there you have your quick White Creme de Cacao. 


This version has plenty of cocoa flavor, which was of course our goal, but it’s not as full-bodied as I’d like. Also don’t expect this one to be perfectly clear, due to the cocoa fat that still comes through the filter. You could technically place the strained liqueur into the freezer for the fat to freeze, which you could then strain again, but that’s no longer an instant version, so for something as fast and easy to make, it’s well above expectations. 


With that done, it’s time to turn your sous vide on to get the water to the right temperature while you fill your sous vide bag up - we’re going with 55 °C or 130 °F.


White Creme de Cacao (Sous vide method)

● 140g Cacao Butter

● 350mL BOTRAN Reserva Blanca Rum

● 0,7g Vanilla Bean

● 128g Water

● 102,5g Sugar



We’ll need the same ingredients as before, but we won’t add sugar or water straight away, so into your sous vide bag add the rum, cacao butter and vanilla bean. This will cook for 4 hours but I’ll take out the bag at least once per hour, to give it a shake and make sure everything is cooking evenly. Also keep in mind that once the cacao butter melts, the bag will want to float on the top, so try to place something over the bag to make sure it’s fully submerged under water. 


After 4 hours place the bag into an ice bath or even a freezer once it cools slightly, for the cocoa butter to solidify. This will make the filtration process a lot quicker and better. Afterwards you can cut open the bag and filter through a rinsed coffee filter. You can use the leftover cocoa butter for something like cocoa brownies, homemade hot chocolate, or even an amazing hot buttered rum - might even make that in a future episode.


Now I’ll measure how much infused rum I ended up with, because I’ll be adding water and sugar based on this. For every 100mL of our cacao rum you’ll add 40g of water and 32g of sugar. For easier mixing you can also turn these into a syrup, but I love to use a magnetic stirrer for this, as it looks cooler.  Also, if you don’t feel like doing math though, you can add your yield into the Liqueur Calculators here on the website to get the right amounts of sugar and water! 


With that done, you can bottle your liqueur, add a label and give it a try. The appearance of our sous vide version is clear, and while it might not have so much cacao on the aroma, it’s richer and more full-bodied on the palate, compared to the instant version. Here we achieved a nicely rounded liqueur de cacao, so with that I’m happy to say you can make a great tasting liqueur de cacao at home, and cocktails that would make Oompa Loompas break out into song & dance. 


I’ll be using the sous vide version to make today’s cocktails, the Willy Wonka Negroni and the 20th Century Cocktail. 


Willy Wonka Negroni

● 30mL · 1oz London Dry Gin

● 30mL · 1oz 9di Dante Sweet Vermouth

● 22.5mL · 0.75oz Campari

● 15mL · 0.5oz White Creme de Cacao

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Orange Zest

 



Straight into a chilled lowball glass over a clear ice block add the gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, saline solution & White Creme de Cacao. Now stir to chill and dilute, then take a round coin of orange peel, express the essential oils over the cocktail and place it on top. If there’s a chocolate factory making these, I sure hope to find a golden ticket somewhere. Cheers!


Visually this is a completely classic Negroni, but on the aroma the chocolate is already coming through. Buttery cocoa provides silkiness and adds a new layer of flavor, leaving a pleasant aftertaste. It has a great balance of bitter and sweet, made possible by a liqueur with a little less sugar. If you want to get someone hooked on Negronis this is a great way to slowly introduce them to the classic, but now for the 20th Century cocktail.


According to Difford’s Guide, this cocktail was created by a British bartender, C.A. Tuck, and named after the express train that traveled between New York City and Chicago from 1902 until 1967. This recipe was first published in "Billy" Tarling's 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book, and this drink actually inspired Joerg Meyer to create a better version of Creme de Cacao than he could find on the market, but we’ll still be using our own homemade version again. 


20th Century Cocktail

● 45mL · 1.5oz Gin

● 30mL · 1oz White Creme de Cacao

● 30mL · 1oz Lillet Blanc

● 7.5mL · 0.25oz Lemon Juice

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Lemon Zest


This one is easy to make. Just add all but the lemon zest to a chilled shaker, shake with ice to chill and dilute, then double strain into a cold coupe glass. Then spray the oils from a lemon zest on top, and garnish! On the aroma, there are actually some wine notes with the botanicals from the gin, but on the taste however you get a cocoa-forward cocktail, which is subtly dry and, in my opinion, perfectly balanced. I'm definitely pleased with how the DIY liqueur de cacao plays a central role!


With that we’ve made it to the Bottom of The Glass, this time hosted at our newly decorated other end of the studio, so if you want to check it out go to the full episode on YouTube. This was built with suggestions from our Patrons, so thank you for that and for helping us make this show possible. Consider joining if you want to have more exclusive Cocktail Time content each week, and see you next time, Friends of Cocktails. 




2 Comments


I went w/ the sous vide method but used vodka in lieu of rum. Still v. good :)

Used the result in the 20th C. cocktail, subbing Carpano Bianco for Lillet + 1/2 barspoon of Amaro Nonino. I used Old Tom gin (Giants & Gentlemen), thinking it would play well w/ the creme de cacao. Indeed it did. I used yuzu juice in a taste a comparison as a sub for the citrus juice component; sudachi juice too. Either one works better than lemon juice, to my palate (because less acidic while still providing a backbone). I love how it comes on fresh & then evolves to bring the cacao on the finish.

Looking fwd to trying Meyer lemon juice…

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Kevin Kos
Kevin Kos
Feb 21
Replying to

Amazing! Thank you for your feedback!

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