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Valentine’s Day cocktails to make at home

Why not mix up some special drinks for Valentine’s Day? Decanter selects eight lovestruck recipes that are easy to prepare at home – and recommends which spirits to make them with. 

What will you be drinking this Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re celebrating with a loved one or enjoying Galentine’s Day with friends, a special drink will help to share the love. You could choose to pop the cork on a pretty pink rosé Champagne or sparkling wine.

But more of us than ever are now making cocktails at home – and it can be surprisingly easy to create a drink that looks and tastes show-stopping.

If you do enjoy mixing your own cocktails, rosy-hued drinks like the Cosmopolitan, French Martini and Clover Club (see below) are popular Valentine choices. Champagne cocktails also look the part.

Below we’ve rounded up a selection of our favourites. Most are twists on classics; some are super-simple to make; others take a little more prep time. But all of them will taste great in your glass – however you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day cocktails to make at home

Aperitifs Champagne cocktail

Credit: Sarah Hogan

Classic Champagne Cocktail

One of the oldest cocktails, tracing its roots back to the mid-1800s, this simple mix is a decadent treat – plus it’s easy to make. Simply build the ingredients in the glass and stir gently to mix. No cocktail shaker required. Choose a Cognac such as Courvoisier VSOP Exclusif, which was specifically created for use in cocktails and has a smooth palate with flavours of apricot, plum, caramel and cocoa, mingling with ginger, cinnamon and vanilla spice. Don’t use vintage Champagne or exclusive cuvées in sparkling cocktails. The complexity of these prestige Champagnes will be lost in the mix, so choose a non-vintage (NV) brut style.

Glass: Champagne flute

Garnish: None

Method: Drop the sugar cube into a chilled Champagne flute and saturate it with the bitters. Add the Cognac. Top up the glass with Champagne, stir gently to mix and serve.

Ingredients: 20ml Cognac, 1 sugar cube, 2 or 3 dashes Angostura Bitters, Champagne to top

A pink cocktail in a coupe glass on a shiny bartop

Clover Club

Invented at the Clover Club at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia in the late 19th century, the Clover Club is a classic gin cocktail. Pink, frothy and fun, the Clover Club is essentially a fruity Martini with added body from the egg white. Our Valentine version is made with a raspberry gin to ramp up the fruity flavour. Try Manchester Gin Raspberry Infused or Caorunn Scottish Raspberry Gin. Vegans can use aquafaba (drained chickpea liquid) instead of egg white to produce the creamy top layer.

Glass: Coupe

Garnish: Lavender sprig

Method: Muddle the raspberries, sugar syrup and lemon juice together in the bottom of a shaker. Add all of the other ingredients and shake without ice (dry shake) to emulsify the egg white. Add cubed ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish.

Ingredients: 50ml raspberry gin, 20ml extra dry vermouth, 20ml lemon juice, 10ml sugar syrup, 4 raspberries, 15g egg white (or aquafaba)

Two highball cocktails against a pink backgroundE

Elyx Spritz

This simple and refreshing twist on a Vodka Tonic uses rosé vermouth and elderflower to add floral notes and a pretty pink colour to the drink. I’d recommend using French vermouth Lillet Rosé – which also makes a delicious aperitif on its own over ice. This version is made with Absolut Elyx but you could also use any good quality premium vodka.

Glass: Highball

Garnish: Lemon wheels

Method: Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the vodka, vermouth and tonic. Stir gently to mix and garnish.

Ingredients: 30ml vodka, 30ml rosé vermouth, 200ml elderflower tonic

An Espresso martini cocktail on a dark bar top with a bottle of Cognac

Espresso Martin

This twist on an Espresso Martini was created by Cognac house Rémy Martin using its Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal. Using Cognac instead of the traditional vodka, creates a richer taste that will appeal to Cognac and coffee lovers. Use freshly made hot espresso – the ice will cool it down instantly.

Glass: Martini or coupe

Garnish: Three coffee beans

Method: Put all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the coffee beans.

Ingredients: 45ml Cognac, 30ml espresso, 15ml coffee liqueur, 15ml sugar syrup


a cocktail and bottle of gin on a drinks trolley

The fun and fruity Floradora takes its name from a hugely popular Edwardian musical comedy. The show debuted in London’s West End in 1899 and then transferred to Broadway in 1900. It featured a chorus line – the pretty Floradora girls – who dressed in pink and carried frilly parasols. The story goes that one of the chorus girls asked bartender Jimmy O’Brien to create a drink for her one night after the show – and the result was the Floradora. The recipe first appeared in print in 1913 in the Manual of Mixed Drinks by Jacques Straub. Use Hendrick’s Gin, infused with flavours of rose petal and cucumber, to add a distinctive flavour to your drink.

Glass: Highball

Garnish: Raspberry and line wedge

Method: Put all of the ingredients, except the ginger beer, in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice until your hands are cold. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, and top with ginger beer. Stir gently to mix and garnish.

Ingredients: 40ml gin, 20ml fresh lime juice, 10ml raspberry syrup, ginger beer to top

a cocktail on a wooden table with an orange in the backgroun

Credit: Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo

Hanky Panky

If you’re feeling amorous this Valentine’s Day, why not indulge in a little Hanky Panky? This variation on a sweet Martini is one of the first cocktails to make use of Fernet-Branca (an Italian amaro created in 1845). It’s also the first classic cocktail recipe that can be definitively attributed to a female bartender. Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman was head bartender at the American Bar at London’s Savoy hotel in the early 1920s. She created the drink as a pick-me-up for actor Sir Charles Hawtry, who came up with the name; at the time ‘hanky panky’ meant a magical spell, like ‘hocus pocus’. The recipe calls for a London Dry style of gin: try Berry Bros & Rudd’s No.3 London Dry Gin. Distilled with just six botanicals, it’s beautifully balanced and works perfectly in Martinis and Martini-style cocktails.

Glass: Martini

Garnish: Orange twist

Method: Put all of the ingredients in a mixing jar with ice and stir to combine. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Zest a twist of orange peel over the top and garnish.

Ingredients: 45ml London Dry gin, 45ml sweet red vermouth, 7.5ml Fernet-Branca

A pink Martini with a slice of passionfruit in front of a bottle of gin

Passion Martini

If you like fruity French Martinis, this gin-based twist is a good alternative. Passion fruit adds a Valentine vibe. Vegans can use aquafaba (drained chickpea liquid) instead of egg white to produce the creamy top layer. Beautifully balanced, with a rounded, creamy texture, Sipsmith London Dry Gin works well in this cocktail. One of the names that kick-started the craft gin movement in the UK, its distinctive botanical mix is inspired by a recipe found in an 18th century book called The Compleat Body of Distilling by drinks historian and Master Distiller Jared Brown.

Glass: Martini or coupe

Garnish: Half a passion fruit

Method: Put all of the ingredients, including the juice of half a passion fruit, in a shaker. (Keep the other half of the passion fruit to use as a garnish.) Shake well. Add ice and shake again. Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish with the remaining half of passion fruit.

Ingredients: 50ml gin, 25ml lemon juice, 12.5ml triple sec, 12.5ml passion fruit syrup, 1 passion fruit, 1 egg white

Red cocktail in a rocks glass ona bar top with a bottle of whisky

Ti Adoro (I Adore You)

This loved-up cocktail for rye whiskey drinkers is made with eye-catching Campari ice cubes. You’ll need a large cube tray – and leave plenty of time to make your ice cubes in advance of mixing up your cocktail. Try using Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye in this drink. Its notes of vanilla, banana, caramel and nuts balance the bitterness of the Campari.

Glass: Old fashioned

Garnish: Orange peel

Method: First make your Campari ice cubes, by mixing 25ml Campari with 60ml water, then freezing the liquid in a large cube tray. You can make these a day in advance. To make the cocktail combine the rye, vermouth and bitters in an old fashioned glass. Add a large Campari ice cube and stir. To garnish, spritz the orange peel into the drink, wipe the peel around the rim and then slide it into the side of the drink.

Ingredients: 60ml rye whiskey, 30ml red vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters

Ingredients for the ice cubes: 25ml Campari; 60ml water

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