West Coast Pimp
by for £19.00

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If it is going to be your 24th birthday, and you are inspired to pimp something for your party, and your party is going to be in a different city in a different state to which you will travel by airplane, I highly recommend that you do as I did and pimp a liquor-filled chocolate bottle, such as can be purchased at airport duty-frees worldwide. This will not only make you popular with the party attendees, but will make the day of the airport security check point person who gets to wand your bag for both drugs and bombs as she attempts to understand why you have a giant chocolate bottle in your carry-on.

The first step in making a pimped liquor-filled chocolate bottle is an extensive Research & Development period. This is mainly two weeks spent looking at a pack of normal liquor chocolates and covering in melted chocolate. This allows you to make a number of useful observations about what goes into successfully pimping this delicacy. You will quickly realize that the finished bottle must be durable (to survive the flight, or just a rowdy party), water-tight (unless your intention is to pimp a chocolate shell with an alcoholic puddle around it), and have a respectable capacity, so as to prevent having to re-fill the bottle constantly. With these factors taken into account, you are ready to begin the pimp.

1. Acquire supplies. Quality chocolate is essential for a sturdy bottle (cheap chocolate has a high sugar content that hinders its ability to re-harden, once melted--as proven by an extremely disastrous trial with Hershey's chocolate). In honor of San Francisco, where the bottle and I spent my birthday, I used Ghiradelli's semi-sweet chocolate, which hails from SF. Here is everything you need:

Supplies and Cost:
6 bags of chocolate chips, $15
1 empty 48 oz canola oil bottle, plastic, $3
1 balloon, $1 per bag
1 plastic tube, about 1-inch in diameter, $2 (mine originally contained bath salts)
duct tape, $2 per roll
box cutter, $1 at the hardware store
metal nail file (I already had it)
1 24 oz bottle of Frangelico (hazlenut flavored liquor), $12

Total cost: $36 or £19

2. Prepare the mold. Empty the bottle of oil. Cut the top off below the lip, and set it aside. With the box cutter, slit the plastic bottle down the each side to about 1/2 inch above the bottom. To create the form for the inner liquor reservoir, fill a balloon with water until it is of a size that will fit easily inside the widest part of the oil bottle, with 1/4-1/2 inch clearance on all sides. Then tape the water balloon to one end of the plastic tube. Use duct tape or another similarly water-proof tape. The tube I used was about an inch in diameter, large enough to fit easily inside the neck of the oil bottle, with 1/4 inch on all sides, and about six inches long.

Next, put the reservoir inside the oil bottle by pulling the split-open sides apart. When the reservoir is inside, use lots and lots of duct tape to seal the sides where you slit it open. Use as much tape as you need to make it water tight, and tape laterally as well as vertically on the seam. I used almost a whole roll. This is where it is very important to have a smooth-sided bottle, because otherwise it is very tricksy to reseal the bottle. Doing the bottle as one solid piece prevents potential leakage from seams

3. Melt the chocolate. And melt it all at once, because if you do it in stages, layers may form in the chocolate which will create leak points. This is hugely technical. I used a double-boiler, because I have one, but I suppose the microwave would work just as well.

4. Fill the mold with chocolate. Lean the reservoir tube to the side, and pour a cup or so of molten chocolate into the bottle. Lift the reservoir by the tube to let that chocolate settle on the bottom of the bottle, and then let the reservoir rest on top of it. Continue to pour in chocolate, occasionally hitting the bottle-mold against the counter, or whatever hard surface you have handy, to make sure it is tightly packed with no bubbles. When you get to the base of the neck, straighten the tube so it is centered in the neck of the bottle before filling the neck with chocolate. Fill it right up to the top, and then use a left-over bit of chocolate to fill the previously cut-off top of the oil bottle (with lid still on). This forms a plug to seal the bottle later. Put the filled bottle and lid in the refrigerator. The reservoir may float up in the bottle, so I wedged something between the top of the reservoir-tube and the shelf above the bottle to keep the reservoir at the right place in the mold while the chocolate hardens. Let the chocolate harden over night, or less if you're confident it's hardened.

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