Dueling Drinks Taste Test: Leonard Cohen’s Red Needle Vs Chocolodka


Cocoa & Caramel Concoction Conquers Cohen Cocktail

After viewing the post, Leonard Cohen’s Appearance On 1992 Danish Talk Show, which includes a segment in which Mr Cohen demonstrates how to make his Red Needles cocktail, Coco Éclair, a Leonard Cohen fan,1 determined to ply her friends with a round of Red Needles.2

On discovering her intentions, DrHGuy, acutely aware of his moral responsibility to readers, responded:

For what it’s worth, I have prepared and consumed a Red Needle and found it – ah, let’s say less tasty than my usual cocktail of choice, a vodka & tonic, or my own preferred special occasion drink – Chocolodka.3 Of course that’s a matter of taste; your mileage may vary. In any case, it might be wise to try this potion yourself before offering it to friends.

The Red Needle-Chocolodka Qualitative Comparison And Trans-Canadian Mixed Drink Championship

Ms E, it turns out, is an earnest sort of individual, one who cannot, say, abide a casual sipping of rival drinks to determine a favorite. She, indeed, eschewed such cavalier methodology, opting instead for a full blown scientific survey. DrHGuy next received this email:


Your suggestion that I might find the Chocolodka more palatable than the Red Needle gave me the idea of conducting a ‘taste-testing experiment’.We Victorians take our love of Leonard, and our drinking quite seriously. 😉
To qualify as a participant one had to fulfill two criteria:
1. Profess an undying love of L. Cohen
2. Drink alcohol
I’d be remiss if I were to fail to point out the two experimental design flaws, the first being the more serious:
1. Cadbury Caramilk bars were used in lieu of Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel bars!
Rationale: Apparently, the Cadbury Caramilk bar is the closest thing we have in Canada to the Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel.According to the following comment taken from the Cadbury website regarding the Caramilk bar, the two are not very close at all!
Similar products

In the United Kingdom, a bar similar in premise (caramel-filled chocolate) but differing considerably in taste, shape, ingredients and packaging is sold as Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel.

DrHGuy: Re the choice of chocolate and caramel,
The author of the original recipe, which DrHGuy found on a now extinct forum for expatriate Brits craving the familiar treats from home, noted she had tried many candy bars to discover and confirm that the Cadbury Dairy Milk with Caramel Bar offered the ideal proportions of chocolate to caramel. DrHGuy reports that, on two occasions, when the specified Cadbury Dairy Milk with Caramel Bar was not immediately available and the need for Chocolodka was acute and desperate, humanitarian concerns mandated substitution of other Cadbury products advertised to contain dairy milk, chocolate, and caramel. Both batches, while sufficient to rescue those in need, were found wanting. Buying the correct product, however, has become much simpler. One can, for example, search Amazon.com for “Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Bars.” To minimize shipping costs, one may wish to order 12-24 bars (Chocolodka kits make great holiday gifts).


2. An improvised Bain-Marie was used.
Rationale: The person hosting the taste-testing experiment (moi) can’t afford to shop at Williams-Sonoma.


DrHGuy: Re the Bain-Marie,

DrHGuy, a purist in matters Chocolodka has shunned fancy-schmancy cooking utensils, especially those with fancy=schmancy names like “Bain-Marie,” steadfastly insisting on usig a dishwasher to produce his personal supply of Chocolodka. It is, he notes, efficient, easy, and fun – plus, it impresses the girls.

As you can see in the photos below, despite the inherent, and unpreventable flaws in the experiment, your prediction was correct: 8 out of 9 Cohen-obsessed fans preferred the Chocolodka!

The group was a motley crew of writers, professors, photographers, artists , and computer nerds. Interestingly, and perhaps of relevance to the experiment, the 8 people who preferred the Chocolodka , other than feeling a little worse for wear the following morning, reported having a somewhat normal sleep ; however, the man with the ‘opposing thumb’, as he has come to be called, reported having grappled with a dark night of the soul , ultimately finding his inner elegy.

(‘Opposing thumb’ as opposed to ‘opposable thumb’ as all nine participants were in possession of the latter).

We suspect he was predisposed to prefer Leonard’s concoction, or perhaps tequila simply effects the brain differently than does vodka! 😉

FYI: There was a ‘control group’ consisting of 4 people all of whom preferred the Chocolodka. The people in the control group were also L. Cohen fans, but unlike the others, they were not told which drink was created by Leonard.
We shall be happy to repeat the experiment should we be fortunate enough to obtain some Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel bars! 🙂
Coco Éclair
p.s. All participants were keen to obtain both recipes. They have consequently been directed to the 1 Heck of a Guy site.

One in every crowd


Eight Cohen fans with good taste


DrHGuy explains the results:
The Red Needle had a lot going for it – namely, its inventor’s status as the quintessential singer-songwriter-icon. Chocolodka, on the other hand, had this:


Originally posted May 12, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com

Note: I am republishing selected posts from Cohencentric (my former Leonard Cohen site), especially those offering information not available elsewhere, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen).


  1. In a nice case of product crossover, Ms Éclair, a Leonard Cohen fan, discovered the this  site through a link found while she was visiting the Allison Crowe site []
  2. The Red Needle is a drink made from tequila, cranberry juice, ice, lemon and/or exotic fruits, which was invented by Leonard Cohen. []
  3. Chocolodka is the official drink of the Heck Of A Guy/AllanShowalter.com site. More information, including details about its ingredients, vodka and Cadbury Dairy Milk with Caramel Bars, construction, and history, can be found at The Quintessential Chocolate Vodka – Chocolodka []

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