With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, let me give you a little advice garnered from my years of experience (ha!). Instead of struggling to book a last-minute restaurant or trying to wedge your way into a crowded bar, make that special someone a deliciously flirty cocktail at home. Here are five possibilities that taste scrumptious and fit the “Be Mine” mood. [Want restaurant recommendations for Valentine's Day? Check out Leslie Kelly's picks.]
One warning with this nutty, lush number: it might make you sing. Which might not be a bad thing on Valentine’s Day, depending on the song. If you can’t find Kahana Royale Macadamia Nut Liqueur, sub in Frangelico, but take it down to an ounce in this recipe from Dark Spirits: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add 1-3/4 ounces bourbon (Woodinville Whiskey’s bourbon is nice), 1-1/2 ounces Kahana Royale Macadamia Nut Liqueur, and 1 ounce heavy cream. Shake well. Add a cherry to a cocktail glass. Strain the mix into the glass. Sure, the cherry will vanish for a minute, but like the moon, it’ll reappear.
I originally found this lovely liquid number on genius Seattle-based cocktail writer Paul Clarke’s blog The Cocktail Chronicles (a must for anyone who likes a good cocktail), and it’s a drink for any couple that like to kick up their heels a bit – as it has a bit of a kick itself. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway with cracked ice. Add 2 ounces bourbon, 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur, and 1 dash each of Angostura bitters and orange bitters (go with Scrappy’s orange bitters here). Stir well and then strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
This is a drink created by my wife Natalie Fuller (and yes, it’s good to have two drink-makers in the family). It’s a bit more of a refresher than the others on this list, which means it can cool you down as needed. The recipe’s from Good Spirits: Fill a Collins glass three-quarters with ice cubes. Add 1-1⁄2 ounces Limoncello. Fill to about 1⁄2 inch from the top with chilled club soda. Add 5 or 6 raspberries and stir well.
If you refer to your own true Valentine as “paramour” (and I hope you do), this drink’s for you. It was created by Philadelphia bartender Katie Loeb, and originally used Penn 1681 vodka. If you can’t track that down here, then I suggest subbing in Seattle’s own Glass vodka in this recipe: Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add 1-1/2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce Lillet, and 1/2 ounce Aperol. Stir well, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist and a brandied cherry or two.
If you’re making a drink for a beloved spouse who isn’t shy about admitting their affection for frothy, creamy, sweet drinks, then I suggest you shake up this chilly dessert number for them. The recipe’s from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with crushed ice. Add 1-1/2 ounces Tia Maria, 1 ounce orange Curaçao, and 1/2 ounce heavy cream. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.
Photo copyright 2010, Harvard Common Press and Melissa Punch.