Who invented chocolate liqueurs?

31 Aug 2022

Alcohol Chocolate Knowledge

Discover the history and secrets of your favourite tipsy chocolate bites

A blast from the past – chocolate liqueurs are often seen as an acquired taste. Perhaps you have a fond memory of a grandparent cracking open a tin of liqueur-filled chocolates. Maybe you even tried one as a child for a thrill. But who exactly invented these delightful little tipsy treats?

A stack of chocolate squares with a liqueur filling

What are chocolate liqueurs?

We think that alcohol and chocolate make the perfect pairing. Chocolate liqueurs do exactly what they say on the tin. Essentially, chocolate liqueurs are simply miniature chocolates with an alcohol centre. They are traditional (but nonetheless timeless) treats, dating back to the early 20th century. 

Depending on your tastes, chocolate liqueurs come in a range of flavours and feature different spirits. Gone are the days when chocolate liqueurs consisted of your standard dark chocolate and brandy. Now, you can find delectable liqueur-filled chocolates inspired by cocktails like the Mojito and Espresso Martini. The choices are endless.

Where did liqueur-filled chocolates come from? 

The exact answer is unknown. But what we do know is that Hugo Asbach is rumoured to have created liqueur-filled chocolates in Germany in the 1920s. His creative invention came in response to women being discouraged from drinking alcohol in public as it was considered ‘unladylike’. 

To fill this gap in the market, Asbach created delicious liquor-filled chocolates made with brandy. And the trend soon spread throughout Europe.

A timeless treat with an ambiguous beginning. However chocolate liqueurs came about, they are a classic tidbit we adore at times of celebration.

How do chocolatiers fill chocolates with alcohol?

The actual process of making liqueur-filled chocolates may be more complex than you would think.

Starch casting for spirits

This method is fit for a scientist and contains a number of chemical reactions. Firstly, any spirit or liquor is naturally volatile, and therefore prone to evaporation.

On the contrary, chocolate is porous. This means that alcohol will immediately evaporate through the chocolate if the two are paired. As such, chocolatiers need to use a fairly intricate process to bring the two together.

They use a technique called ‘starch casting.’ This method is over 200 years old historians believe it was an invention from the master chocolatier, Rudolph Sprungli.

First, chocolatiers cast the alcohol into starch moulds to remove any water in the alcohol. It’s this water content that causes alcohol to evaporate. The result is a formed sugar shell containing the spirit.

The next step is to carefully enrobe the delicate tipsy cases in chocolate. You can learn all about enrobing in our guide to coating chocolates.

Spoilt for choice: which spirits can you add to liqueur chocolates?

When it comes to filling these tipsy treats, just about anything will work – except for bubbles. So put your prosecco, champagne and beer aside.

If you’re thinking of making your own liqueur-filled chocolates, we recommend you use only the best liqueurs for your chocolates. This is because the “Zuckerkrust” or “sugar crust” that gets formed in the starch casting process works best with the best.

The sugar crust is able to capture the nuances and distinct flavours of the liqueur, drawing it out better to create that perfect, decadent bite.

Basically, carbonated drinks won’t work in your liqueur-filled chocolates. But your favourite wines, spirits and still cocktails all make for a great twist on a classic. 

Two glasses of red wine

Tipsy truffles and chocolate liqueurs from Hotel Chocolat

If you’re not confident in making your own liqueur chocolates, leave it to us. Whilst liqueur-filled chocolates may be associated with old-fashioned delights, they have come leaps and bounds in terms of flavour. They are a timeless treat to be enjoyed in a variety of vibrant flavours.

Are you a little unsure where to start when it comes to chocolate liqueurs? Don’t worry, we’re sure we can tempt you with our enticing range of tipsy delights.

Time to celebrate

Why not start off with some bubbles to celebrate?

Perfect for any special occasion, our Champagne Chocolate Truffles Selectors are bound to make a statement. These decadent milk chocolate truffles are infused with cream for a sumptuously smooth finish. A generous splash of champagne adds the final flourish.

As we mentioned earlier, bubbles are a tricky one for liqueurs. But we’d like to think we’ve put our years of chocolatier and mixology experience to good use and mastered this irresistible combination. If you’re looking for a glamorous gift for a loved one, our Pink Champagne Chocolate Truffles will make a real statement.

Summer delights

Gone are the days when liqueur-filled chocolates were simply made up of chocolate and brandy. We’ve brought together a colourful collection of exotic flavoured chocolate liqueurs perfect for those summer days. But we don’t recommend you leave them out in the sun!

For an evening by the beach, try our Passion Fruit Chocolate Margarita Selector. Or mix it up with our Praline Soother. It features delicate notes of coconut cream, hazelnut liqueur and vodka.

Or how about our Lady Marmalade Selector? This one is for the gin lovers. It’s a sunset delight combining Cointreau, bitter orange oil and a dash of Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle Gin. This zesty combination packs a perfect citrus punch, a zesty twist on a much-loved gin classic. 

Variety is the spice of life, and if you’re looking for an extra-special gift for a birthday, anniversary, or bridal shower, our Tipsy Truffles Sleekster is a sure-fire winner. Complete with a combination of champagne, pink champagne, gin truffles, cocktail-inspired delights, and more, there’s something for everyone.

Champagne flute, dessert, and chocolates

Finish with an original

Sometimes, the classics are just the ticket. You can always rely on timeless recipes, like our Chocolate Cognac Truffles or Whisky Truffle Selector.   

Whatever your tastes, explore our collection  Browse our range of irresistible liqueur-filled chocolates to find your perfect tipsy treat.