On a chilly winter’s eve in London, the only thing better than curling up with a seasonal cocktail is curling up with a seasonal chocolate cocktail. Add to that the company of your sweetheart and a stylish-yet-festive environment and you’ve got the makings for some serious holiday memories. But while there are many restaurants and lounges that will be happy to mix you something they call a chocolate martini, one spot in particular elevates what could be a cloying, frivolous drink into a complex yet well-balanced work of liquid art.
Tucked beneath the railway arches of London’s historic Borough Market, Rabot 1745 specializes in cocoa-centric food and drink, with a menu of indulgences that includes both the savoury (tuna tartare with cacao guacamole) and the sweet (house-made molten chocolate lava pudding). Drop by with your date during the day and you can meander through the rustic ground-floor café past huge vats that churn out melted chocolate. But if you’re looking to pour on the romance, come in the evening and climb the stairs to the warmly lit, wood-clad restaurant and delightful Rabot Terrace, where you’ll enjoy some of the most elegant chocolate-infused cocktails in town while taking in the spectacle below.
The fact you can sip al fresco only adds to the romance. Blankets and heated lamps keep you both warm and toasty, and you’re sheltered from the wind by the walls of Borough Market. So even on the coldest of winter nights, you can sip to your heart’s content.
For English traditionalists, there’s a chocolatey take on the gin martini – a heady but surprisingly mellow blend of gin, dry Curacao, and an orange twist. The bespoke gin they use is made especially for Rabot 1745 using cacao shells, macadamia nuts, and coriander, which gives it a smooth, nutty quality. You’ll be pleasantly surprised as you taste a burst of citrus from the orange zest and a bittersweet kick from the Curacao.
If you have a penchant for fizz, savour the bubbles of a cacao pulp Bellini. The cacao pulp flavours are subtle – not chocolate so much as a fruity tang – and lovely. And the effervescent prosecco tickles your nose and adds a touch of elegance, making even an ordinary night out feel like a celebration.
Then comes the cocktail showstopper, the praline soother: a rich blend of hazelnut liqueur, coconut cream, vodka, praline, and white chocolate. Served in a martini glass, this is the thickest, creamiest, and most indulgent cocktail you’ll ever experience. Sip through the milk chocolate on the rim of the glass for maximum effect.
Throughout Rabot 1745 London, you’ll find subtle nods to the plantation in St. Lucia where they source their cocoa. Scribblings on the wall describe the estate’s history, and the wooden furniture is made from hurricane-felled trees — among all of that, you can’t help but dream about visiting the estate’s tropical climes. But as you clink your glasses and sigh dreamily, listening to the soft rumblings of the trains overhead, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be. Just like you and your date, cocktails and cocoa are truly a match made in heaven.