Ritual X Michael George: Redefining Chocolate & Expectations

Ritual X Michael George: Redefining Chocolate & Expectations

This past week we attended a cocktail demonstration and Q&A hosted by Michael George, who is a pastry chef, bartender, and past Ritual employee. Michael was the 2023 winner of The Black Manhattan Project, a bartender competition by the Black Bourbon Society. “Blackest in the Forest” was one of Michael’s winning cocktails, which features Ritual Chocolate’s Cacao Nibs. “Blackest in the Forest” is a dessert cocktail that goes against typical expectations — a personal reflection of Michael’s life experience.

“I openly reject what is the norm and embrace the parts of my personhood that make me extra, over the top and one of a kind. Through my creativity it is my intention to celebrate that.”

We are honored to have our product used in the creation of Michael’s cocktail!




  • 1.5 oz Michter’s Bourbon 

  • 0.5 oz Smoked Michter’s Bourbon 

  • 0.75 oz Punt E Mes Vermouth with notes of Ritual Cacao Nibs

  • 0.5 oz Tio Pepe Fino Sherry with notes of Dried Truffle Mushroom & Taiwanese Oolong Tea

  • 3 dash Hella Cocktail Co Mexican Chocolate Bitters 

  • 10 drops  Bitters Cube Cherry Bark & Vanilla Bitters 

  • Truffle Mushrooms

  • Ritual Cacao Nibs



Chocolate disk topped with Luxardo cherry, Punt E Mes Cacao “Dirt”, & dried truffle mushroom

  • Chocolate Disk - Melt Ecuador 70% dark chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler on stove top.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN. Spread melted chocolate over parchment-lined sheet pan sprayed with a little nonstick spray. Place pan in refrigerator or freezer and allow cooling until just barely set (6-10 minutes). Remove from refrigerator and use a cookie cutter to cut circles equal to the circumference of the coupe or Nick and Nora glass, being sure to give room so that the disk does not sink into the drink. Take a smaller cookie cutter and, cut out the center hole & return the disk to the fridge until ready for use.

  • Cacao Dirt - Heat oven to 170 F. Place cacao nib and mushroom on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Place in oven and dehydrate until moisture is removed and ingredients are dried out (4-6 hours). Remove from oven and allow to cool. Blend to a fine, crumbly texture in a blender or robo coupe (alternatively, can grind with mortar and pestle or spice grinder). Refrigerate until ready for use.


  • Chill a coupe or Nick and Nora glass. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to dilution; (10-15 seconds or 20 rotations). Strain mixture into chilled Nick and Nora. Place chocolate disk on top of glass and assemble “Forest floor” of Punt E Mes Cacao “Dirt”, luxardo cherry, and dried truffle mushroom shavings.
    Sip, savor, and enjoy!

Smoked Michter’s Bourbon

200 g Michter’s Bourbon. Set Traeger Ironwood885 to 180 F on super smoke setting. Pour bourbon onto a sheet pan inside the smoker and smoke for 20 minutes. Remove from smoker and allow to cool. Strain through a coffee filter. Bottle then refrigerate. Alternatively, the entire cocktail can be smoked utilizing any commercial cocktail smoker if a smoker is not available.  

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