Get bewitched on National Liqueur Day by this sweet and earthy take on the classic mocha made with Liquore Strega.
Click here for the full recipe and nutritional information!
I like coffee, I really do. But as you may have guessed from my Starbucks-style pumpkin spice latte, I particularly like coffee that’s been heavily influenced by cream, sugar, and preferably a good amount of additional flavoring. Possibly my favorite way to take my coffee is with a creamy swirl hot chocolate and a shot (or two) of Liquore Strega.
If you’re unfamiliar with Strega, it’s a wonderful herbaceous Italian liqueur from Benevento (about 5 miles from where the maternal side of my family lives and derives). It’s a beautiful digestif made from over 70 different herbs and spices including anise, juniper, and iris, and gets its golden color from saffron. Strega can sometimes be difficult to find, so if you absolutely must substitute, I understand that yellow chartreuse has a not entirely dissimilar flavor. Galliano could be subbed if pushed, though it really does taste quite different. Either way, it wouldn’t be a true Witch’s Brew as strega is Italian for witch. There is a centuries-old tradition of witches in Benevento, and what better time of year than to drink to that? (Family legend says that my grandmother was nearly thrown into a fire by a witch when she was a baby, and that my great-grandfather saved her, but that’s a story for another time.) Ahem, so let’s get to brewin’!
The first thing you need is some espresso. You can achieve this in whatever method you prefer, but in keeping with our Campanian theme, I’m using my favorite Neapolitan flip coffee maker. It looks somewheat similar to a moka pot, but works very differently. Here’s a great video to demonstrate:
I’m making this for two people, so one pot is the perfect size for two generous mugs. I should mention here that this recipe is of course to my taste, and while you may prefer more espresso and less additives, etc., you can naturally adjust to your tastes.
While that’s boiling and brewing, let’s make our hot chocolate. Now I’ve made this many times with just chocolate syrup and soy milk (which makes it much lower in fat, too), but let’s go for the full experience. Use your favorite creamy nut milk (cashew, macadamia, or hazelnut are all excellent choices) and your favorite semi-sweet/dark chocolate, in chip or finely chopped form. Whisk those two in a saucepan over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the milk is steaming.
Now for the star of the show! Simply add in Strega to taste. I like for it to compliment rather than overpower, so I tend to be more reserved in my servings. It is a truly unique flavor combination, so I advise caution.
And there it is! You can top it with foamed milk, whipped cream, or a simple dusting of cocoa. I’m also rather partial to the frozen version, made by blending together frozen coffee ice cubes, creamer, chocolate syrup, and Strega, which we in our house have come to call the “Witch’s Tit” (get it? “cold as a witch’s tit”?), but that tends to be more of a summer drink for me.
I went super over-the-top with this and put some Strega in my food dehydrator to turn it into delicious Strega-flavored sugar to sprinkle on top along with some chocolate syrup (another photo of that on my Instagram).
I hope that you can get your hands on some Liquore Strega and that you give this a try.
Witch’s Brew Mocha (Hot + Frozen) | Printable Version
Makes 2 servings each
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 c brewed espresso or strong coffee
1 c preferred vegan milk
½ c dark or semi-sweet chocolate
¼ c Liquore Strega
1 ½ c strong coffee or espresso, frozen into cubes
½ c preferred vegan milk
¼ c chocolate syrup
¼ c Liquore Strega
Whipped cream, chocolate syrup, etc., to garnish
- For the hot version, combine milk and chocolate in a small saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until chocolate is melted and milk is steaming.
- Pour espresso into glasses or mugs and top with hot chocolate. Stir in Strega. Garnish as desired.
- For the frozen version, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish as desired.