I have a somewhat long-distance relationship with shots. I mean, they're fun, and they're easy to throw together, but when your first position behind the stick is making very complex tropical drinks, it's easy to have a simple part of a bartender's repertoire fall by the wayside.
Then my birthday rolled around, and I remembered exactly why it's nice to know some shots.
Shots are an essential part of any bartender's arsenal of cocktails. What better way to get someone's party started than making several of the same drink all at the same time? I'll certainly take making a flock of shots over putting together five different beers and four different cocktails any day.
One of my favorite shots out there has to be the Chocolate Cake shot. Since it tastes like cake, it makes an especially appropriate shot for birthday celebrations.
There's a bit of a surprise to anyone who hasn't had a Chocolate Cake shot before. There's no chocolate anywhere in it. The only three flavors are hazelnut liqueur, lemon, and sugar. How the hell does it end up tasting remarkably like chocolate cake?
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The answer can be traced, in part at least, back to Italy. Back in the mid 19th Century, Italy was in the middle of a severe recession. The government placed high taxes on anything dubbed luxury goods, which included chocolate. A chocolate making family from Piedmont reduced their tax load by cutting the chocolate with readily available local hazelnuts, which pair very well with chocolate thanks to a number of similar flavors in both. And so, gianduja chocolate-hazelnut paste was born. These days, you know the mixture better by the commercial brand Nutella.
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This is one of those drinks where the garnish, in this case a sugared lemon, plays an essential part of the drink. The sugar and acid bring out Frangelico's rich, chocolaty notes. So, after you've taken the shot, bite down on the lemon wedge and wrap your head around some trippy flavor play as hazelnut flavor turns into the taste of chocolate cake right in your mouth.
Chocolate Cake Shot 3/4 ounce citron vodka 3/4 ounce Frangelico
Build in a shot glass (or mix several in a large vessel and pour into shot glasses). Garnish with a sugared lemon wedge. To consume, down the shot and then bite the lemon wedge.