If you like dark chocolate with Cognac or red wine, try it with tequila. This spirit made from blue agave plant extract has a flavour profile that is similar to cacao, making it just as delicious as your favourite classic beverage and chocolate pairings.
Ryley Norman is a bartender at Toronto’s Reposado Tequila Bar and Monica Sanita is the co-founder of Siempre Tequila, which creates craft, single-estate tequilas in Jalisco, Mexico. Here, they share their insider tips on how to pair dark chocolate with different types of tequila.
The bold flavours of the distilled agave are front and centre in this tequila named for its clear finish. Also known as silver or “plata” tequila, it has a shorter aging process. (The longer the aging process the darker the colour.) While every tequila has its own nuance and complexity of flavour, Blanco is by far the easiest to pair with chocolate because of its versatility and wide range of notes.
Try: Excellence Orange Intense Dark Chocolate + Astral Blanco
This tequila’s vegetal notes of ripe plantain and dill and strong fruit presence, including a bright green apple note, both enhance and contrast the citrus flavour in this lush dark chocolate with a dry, peppery finish.
Try: Excellence Intense Mint Dark Chocolate + Don Julio Blanco
This smooth tequila is infused with lively aromas of fresh grapefruit, lemon and lime, which along with a hint of grassy notes, plays perfectly with the herbal, mint flavour of this chocolate, for a refreshing, cooling finish.
Reposado means rested, referring to this flavourful tequila’s aging process. Aged in a variety of wood containers for up to three years in order to enhance the tequila’s flavours and aromas, Reposado often develops warm, spicy notes, such as cinnamon, vanilla and pepper, which make it a lovely match for the nuttiness of dark chocolate, which can naturally stand up to the complexity of aged liquor.
Try: Excellence 78% Cacao Dark Chocolate + Clase Azul Reposado
This ultra-premium tequila is aged in American oak barrels for eight months and has a deep, rich flavour profile of pineapple, caramel and vanilla. These sweet flavours balance well with the bitterness of Excellence 78% Cacao and draws out its notes of pecans and walnuts.
Try: Excellence Coconut Dark Chocolate + Los Arango Reposado
A juicy-tasting tequila that is sweet with a little kick, this Reposado’s caramelized agave and toffee notes play perfectly with the nutty, tropical flavours of Excellence Coconut Dark Chocolate.
Try: Excellence Sea Salt Dark Chocolate + Casamigos Reposado
The earthy, savoury notes of Excellence Sea Salt are the ultimate match for this tequila’s silky and sweet flavours of cocoa and caramel, resulting in an addictive sweet and salty finish.
The most intricate of all tequilas, Añejo is aged for at least one year and up to three in small, oak barrels. During this process the flavour of the alcohol becomes more mellow and the tequila takes on more distinct woody notes.
Try: Excellence 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate + Siempre Añejo
The light and fruity notes of 70% Cacao, including cherry, orange and vanilla, are an ideal accompaniment to Siempre Añejo, which is aged in French oak for 24 months and has a complementary flavour profile of honey, chocolate, coffee and vanilla, for a lovely, round finish.
Try: Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate + Corralejo Añejo
This full-bodied tequila is aged in charred oak barrels which impart a smooth, smoky flavour to the liquor, which balances the subtle sweet and spicy profile of Excellence Chili. The spiciness of the chocolate is also enhanced by the tequila’s notes of cardamom and white pepper.
- Similar to Scotch, high-quality tequilas are made for sipping. To enjoy the complex notes at their best, reach for an old-fashioned glass or champagne flute, or better yet, a classic Glencairn glass, which will allow you to swirl the tequila around and help release its unique aromas.
- Reposados and Añejos should be served at room temperature, and become more flavourful once warmed in your hands.
- Blanco-style tequilas are also best to enjoy at room temperature, but in hot weather you can chill or add ice to soften the overall taste.