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Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor Invented the Chocolate Martini — Drinking One Will Make You Feel Like Old Hollywood Royalty

You won't believe how easy it is to whip up something so decadently delicious

Some childhood favorites never stop being delicious, and one of our forever favorites is chocolate. Chocolate milkshake, chocolate bars, chocolate cake… is it even possible to grow out of loving the stuff? However, there’s a more grown-up way to get your chocolate fix, and that’s with a chocolate martini. The classic cocktail takes a sweet turn with vodka, chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao and cream. Read on for this delicious dessert drink recipe, as well as some fun twists on the chocolate martini. 

The sexy romance of the chocolate martini

It’s no surprise that a superstar drink like the chocolate martini was invented by, well, fellow superstars. “Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor are credited with inventing the cocktail in 1955. Apparently, they came up with the idea together on the set of Giant,” says Tina Karras, owner and founder of Tina’s Vodka. “Both were fans of chocolate beverages and martinis.” 

Rock Hudson biographer Sara Davidson explains further, saying that he and Elizabeth Taylor created it for fun by pouring chocolate liqueur and syrup into a vodka martini. While they were initially delighted by their invention, they allegedly suffered from indigestion afterward. Too much of a good thing?

How to make a chocolate martini

chocolate martini

With its perfect combination of sweet and smooth, a chocolate martini is a delicious way to end a meal. Chocolate expert Gemma Whitaker of Whitakers Chocolates shares her go-to recipe. “A chocolate martini is the epitome of indulgence,” she says. 


  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. chocolate liqueur
  • 1 oz.  crème de cacao
  • 1 oz. half-and-half or cream
  • Ice cubes
  • Chocolate syrup for rimming the glass
  • Chocolate shavings or a chocolate-covered strawberry for garnish


  1. Chill the martini glass in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. This helps to keep the drink cold for longer.
  2. Remove the glass from the freezer and carefully rim the edge with chocolate syrup, then dip it in chocolate shavings or cocoa powder.
  3. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao, and half-and-half or cream. Add ice cubes and shake vigorously until the mixture is well chilled.
  4. Strain the mixture into the prepared martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a piece of chocolate or a chocolate-covered strawberry.
  6. Serve immediately and savor every sip!

While our initial impulse is to go heavy on the chocolate syrup, Whitaker recommends moderation. “Don’t overdo the chocolate syrup on the rim of the glass,” she advises. “It can make the drink too sweet and overpower the other flavors.”

5 delicious variations

The standard chocolate martini has stood the test of time for a reason. There’s nothing wrong with the classics, but keep reading for some fun variations of the chocolate martini that you might like even better. (And once you’re tired of chocolate — if that’s possible — click through for this delicious lemon drop martini recipe.)

1. Chocolate espresso martini

The only thing better than chocolate? Chocolate and coffee. These two play beautifully together in most contexts, and that rings especially true in martini form. Shawn Williams of Kitchen Swagger shares his favorite recipe for a chocolate espresso martini. 


  • 1½ oz. vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz. brewed espresso, fresh or instant
  • 1 oz. chocolate liqueur
  • ½ oz. irish cream
  • Chocolate syrup for rim and coffee beans for garnish


  1. Pour chocolate syrup on a plate and dip chilled coupe glass upside down in it to coat rim.
  2. Combine all ingredients except espresso in a cocktail shaker with no ice yet. 
  3. Add the espresso last and then add ice. 
  4. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and serve in chilled, rimmed glass. Garnish with coffee beans.

2. Creamy white chocolate martini

“This drink is smooth, rich and soothing,” says Mark Spivak, author of Iconic Spirits. “It’s almost like a milkshake — but spiked! Top the cocktail with white chocolate shavings or fresh raspberries.”


  • 1 oz. vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz. white chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur — buy from Total Wine, $29.99)
  • ½ oz. white crème de cacao
  • 1 oz. chilled half-and-half
  • Ice cubes


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. 
  2. Pour in vanilla vodka, white chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao and half-and-half. 
  3. Shake vigorously, then strain into a prepared glass.

3. Double dark chocolate martini

“This cocktail is intensely chocolatey,” Spivak raves. “It’s sweet, but the alcohol gives it an almost spicy edge.” Enhance it by rimming your glass with chocolate syrup, then dipping it in cocoa powder. 


  • 3 oz. dark chocolate vodka (such as Warrior Dark Chocolate Vodka — buy from Total Wine, $19.99)
  • 1 oz. white crème de cacao
  • Ice cubes


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. 
  2. Pour in chocolate vodka and creme de cacao. 
  3. Shake vigorously, then strain into a prepared glass.

4. Spicy chocolate martini

Love the sweet-and-spicy flavor of Mexican hot chocolate? Enjoy the same warming sensation and creamy finish in an indulgent cocktail!


  • 1 oz. chili-flavored vodka (such as Absolut Peppar or Stoli Hot)
  • 3½ oz. chocolate liqueur
  • A splash of brandy
  • Ice cubes


  1. Rim two chilled glasses with crushed red hot or hot tamales candies.
  2. Combine ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. 
  3. Shake and strain into two glasses. 
  4. Garnish with chocolate shavings or chocolate syrup.

Tip: For less heat, use ½ oz. regular vodka and ½ oz. chili-flavored. 

5. Shortcut chocolate martini

If your liquor cabinet is bare, but you want a decadent chocolate martini, fear not! You can achieve this yummy cocktail with just vodka and two things you likely have in your pantry already. Karras shares her own favorite recipe for a quick, simple and inexpensive chocolate martini without the fuss. 


  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. chocolate syrup (Tina recommends Santa Cruz Organic Chocolate Flavored Syrup — buy from Walmart, $6.20)


  1. Add all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until cold. 
  2. Strain into a martini glass and enjoy!

How to upgrade a chocolate martini

If your chocolate martini just isn’t decadent enough, there are ways to up the wow factor. Food critic and travel writer Paul Feinstein recommends swapping out chocolate syrup for the real deal. “To make your martini a little extra decadent, melt some dark chocolate on very low heat in a frying pan and dip the martini glass rim into it.” He recommends a fine Italian chocolate, Domori. “Then, shave the dark chocolate directly into the glass to garnish.” For more ideas, check out Feinstein’s upcoming book Italy Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by Italia, available in December (Pre-order on Amazon, $22.99). 

For more fun cocktail inspiration, check out these stories: 

Lemon Cocktails Are Like a Sip of Sunshine — 10 Tasty Recipes to Brighten Any Day

Not Just ‘Another Tequila Sunrise’—How To Take This Classic Drink To the Next Level

Pineapple Margaritas Are So Easy to Make at Home — Mixologist Reveals the Secret

6 Moonshine Cocktails That Are Delicious, Modern Takes on the Outlaw Spirit

For more on Elizabeth Taylor:

Candid Pictures Reveal One of Elizabeth Taylor’s Lesser Known Roles: Being a Mother

All of Elizabeth Taylor’s Husbands Through the Years

Elizabeth Taylor’s Eyes Shown in 18 Rare and Stunning Photos

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