Luxury Liquor Filled Chocolate Shop And Speakeasy Coming to East Downtown

A box of CASE chocolates. Photo by Dylan McEwan.

Chocolate lovers rejoice! A chocolate company that specializes in decadent treats filled with luxury spirits is coming to East Downtown this March. CASE Chocolates is opening a retail space and speakeasy at The Plant mixed use development center located at 3401 Harrisburg next door to James Beard Award-winning Thai restaurant Street to Kitchen. The company is also offering a limited engagement Chocolate & Cocktails in the Jungle Valentine’s Day tasting at Eden Plant Co. on February 14 as a sneak preview of what’s to come.

CASE Chocolate founders Casey McNeil and Janan Araujo-Siam. Photo by Dylan McEwan.
CASE Chocolate founder Casey McNeil and Janan Araujo-Siam. Photo by Dylan McEwan.

The brand, created by native Houstonian Casey McNeil, utilizes a process called starch casting to create chocolates filled with a liquid center that doesn’t bleed through. The technique was perfected in the 1800s by chocolatier, and heir to the Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate empire, Rudolph R. Sprüngli. Chocolatiers cast the alcohol into starch molds to remove the water content in order to prevent evaporation and a sugar shell then surrounds the spirit, locking in the boozy reserve.

McNeil, a University of Houston Bauer College of Business graduate, studied under a Swiss chocolatier to hone his art and frequently travels the world seeking out the best cacao from countries such as Peru, Guatemala and Bali. “Tasting cacaos from around the world, I’ve realized that as much as I thought I had tasted good chocolates, I haven’t even scratched the surface,” McNeil said via a recent press release. “We want to take people on that journey and showcase these different special cacaos we are sourcing from direct connections with really special farmers.”

A custom-made cacao pod case of chocolates. Photo by Dylan McEwan.
A custom-made cacao pod case of chocolates. Photo by Dylan McEwan.

CASE offers a range of chocolates filled with high-end spirits and liqueurs including  bourbon, rum, gin, carajillo and limited selections such as the BTAC Collection Specialty Box, featuring chocolates filled with rare, sought after whiskies from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, presented in a custom-made cacao pod. They can be purchased online ahead of the store’s official opening, with nationwide shipping and local pickup available.

Non-alcoholic options, such as locally-sourced coffee and adaptogen elixirs, are also available. 

A rendering of the retail space at CASE. Photo by Dylan McEwan.
A rendering of the retail space at CASE by Ben Rosenblum.

The 900-square-foot storefront features a small retail space as well as street level window service. It is also home to an exclusive speakeasy offering nightly tasting and pairing experiences by reservation only. The speakeasy is found through a hidden passage which can only be accessed using instructions sent in reservation bookings. During these 45-minute tastings, guests will have a chance to indulge in chocolates, made from carefully selected cacao sourced from across the globe, alongside rare and exclusive wines, spirits and cocktails curated by the CASE team. Non-alcoholic options will be available upon request. 

A rendering of the speakeasy space at CASE. Photo by Dylan McEwan.
A rendering of the speakeasy space at CASE by Ben Rosenblum.

“Chocolates and spirits are a perfect pairing, but the only options have been sort of novelties. We’re changing that by creating unforgettably unique experiences and flavors that focus on the highest quality ingredients,” McNeil said. “Cacao is more nuanced than wine, and we want to emphasize the unique flavors that different origins offer. The journey gets more exciting when people see how those flavors pair with different spirits and cocktails. We’re redefining chocolate by creating new moments of ‘wow’ and joy.”

Follow CASE Chocolates on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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