… A Sweet Valentine’s Day Cocktail for Happy Hour
How you doin’? It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I wanted to include a sweet cocktail for you. Flowers are okay and a box of chocolate is, well so last year… but a sweet cocktail with homemade ingredients will be remembered forever.
There are 2 recipes listed below—one made with “real” Dulce de Leche and a second one made with a combination of chocolate liqueur and sweetened condensed milk. Give both a try and let me know which one you liked best. But before we get started here is some information on making Dulce de Leche at home.
Dulce de Leche is usually associated with South-of-the-border sweets, but seldom with cocktails. Dulce de Leche is as rich as it comes—sweet and decadent. But what exactly is the amber-colored concoction, and how do you make it at home?
Dulce de Leche is a milk caramel spread. Dulce de Leche--candy made from milk—is a thick and sugary caramel-like sauce that is made by slowly heating sweetened evaporated milk. This Latin American ingredient is found in desserts like cakes, stuffed cookies, brownies, and flan (Mexican custard). It's also often used as an ice cream topping and it’s great to spread on brioche toast or crepes.
Caramel sauce and Dulce de Leche look and taste similar. In fact, they can be interchangeable in certain recipes. But they're not quite the same thing—here's how to tell the difference:
Caramel is made by caramelizing granulated sugar over very high heat until it becomes a deep amber color and gives off a rich, almost burnt sugar scent. When it’s mixed with creamy ingredients like half-and-half or heavy cream, it becomes caramel sauce.
Dulce de leche, meanwhile, is made by heating “sweet” milk in the can until it becomes a thick, rich sauce. It’s made in home kitchens using sweetened condensed milk. Unlike caramel, which is heated quickly at high heat, Dulce de Leche is heated low and slow.
You’ll need a closed can of sweetened condensed milk, a nail, a hammer, a saucepan, and water—that’s all!
Dulce de Leche Cocktail #1
The Real Thing
Dulce de Leche Cocktail #1 was created by Perspectives for T.R.’s Restaurants. It was befitting because Colonel Roosevelt was known for his Latin American exploits of storming Kettle Hill (not, San Juan Hill as some history books tell you) bringing an end to the Spanish-American War—okay, this may be overly simplified.
Prep time: 3 minutes (plus, 4-passive hours to make the Dulce de Leche)
Yield: 1 serving:
1-1/2 ounces rum (light Bacardi)
1/4 ounce chocolate syrup
3/4 ounce homemade dulce de leche (recipe above)
Garnish: with pinch of ground cinnamon
Garnish: Dulce de Leche
Dulce de Leche Cocktail #2
The Short Cut Version
The Dulce de Leche Cocktail #2 is Bacardi Rum's recreation of a cocktail found in "Guys and Dolls." It was created for the 2009 revival of the popular Broadway musical. If you like thick chocolate martini-style drinks, it's rather pleasant.
This drink can easily be mistaken for a “Malt” or "milkshake," primarily due to the sweet chocolate liqueur and the sweetened condensed milk (rarely seen in mixed drinks—you’ve got to be creative these days). It relates to one of the musical's most well-known scenes in which Sarah Brown gets a "bit" tipsy on the very same drink. Sky Masterson leads her to believe that it is simply "sweet milk" and that Bacardi is a "preservative." It's quite funny but a rather devious trick to play on someone who doesn't drink!
Prep time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 serving:
1 ounce rum (light Bacardi)
1/2 ounce chocolate liqueur (Godiva Dark Chocolate)
1/2 ounce sweetened condensed milk
Garnish: with pinch of ground cinnamon
Garnish: chocolate shavings
ChefSecret: Here’s a little Dulce de Leche history lesson or as much as I know. While it's impossible to know the exact origins of dulce de leche, there are a few logical theories. According to one popular legend, Napoleon's cook accidentally created it in 1804 by heating milk and sugar for too long. Another story alleges that it was actually a maid of Argentinian politician Juan Manuel de Rosas who mistakenly invented the sweet treat. Some people believe that Dulce de Leche was actually born in Indonesia before making its way to the Philippines. According to this theory, after the Spanish conquered the Philippines, they brought the recipe to the Americas.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “A teacher friend of mine told me that on day 300 of distance learning, she asked her 6-year-old students to write a biography about the quarantine and learning from home; one kid wrote a story entitled Why I hate my family.”
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