When you hear “chocolate vodka,” you think sickly sweet kid’s stuff. Which is why we initially resisted it. But we worked out a version that manages to be deep, rich, and bittersweetly balanced. Not surprisingly, it makes for a superior Black or White Russian.

2 tablespoons cacao nibs

1 750-milliliter bottle of vodka

1 tablespoon simple syrup

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place the nibs on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast them for 5 minutes (they’ll begin to smell delicious). Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then place them in a quart-sized mason jar and pour the vodka over them. Reserve the vodka bottle for the finished product. Screw on the lid and let steep for 1 week in a dark, cool place.

After steeping, carefully pour the simple syrup into the reserved bottle. Strain the vodka from the nibs into the bottle using a fine-mesh strainer and funnel. Discard the nibs. Close the bottle and shake to combine. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

Excerpted from the book KACHKA by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Copyright © 2017 by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Leela Cyd.