Valentine’s Day is always a good excuse to enjoy some special food and drink, whether you’re celebrating with a loved one or enjoying Galentine’s Day with friends. 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, thanks to a rise in home mixology during lockdown.
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. But this time of year is also an excuse for spirits brands to get creative and devise special recipes to encourage drinks lovers to experiment.
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
This simple and refreshing twist on a Vodka Tonic uses rosé vermouth and elderflower to add floral notes to the drink.
Garnish: Lemon wheels
Ingredients: 30ml Absolut Elyx, 30ml Lillet Rosé Vermouth, 200ml elderflower tonic
Method: Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the vodka, vermouth and tonic. Stir gently to mix and garnish.
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. This version is made with a raspberry gin. Vegans can use aquafaba (drained chickpea liquid) instead of egg white to produce the creamy top layer.
Garnish: Lavender sprig
Ingredients: 50ml Manchester Gin Raspberry Infused, 20ml extra dry vermouth, 20ml lemon juice, 10ml sugar syrup, 4 raspberries, 1 fresh egg white (optional)
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.
Ti Adoro (I Adore You)
This 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.
Glass: Old fashioned
Garnish: Orange peel
Ingredients: 60ml Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, 30ml red vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters
Ingredients for the ice cubes: 25ml Campari; 60ml Water freeze in large cube tray
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.
Made using wild purple heather picked on the island, the Isle of Bute Heather gin gives a vibrant floral nose, balanced with a subtle citrus fruit finish.
Glass: Martini glass or coupe
Ingredients: 37.5ml Isle of Bute Heather Gin, 25ml peach schnapps, 50ml Earl Grey tea, 25ml lemon juice, 1 tsp of honey
Method: Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker, shake hard with cubed ice and strain into a chilled glass.
Kiss From a Rose
Very simple to prepare, this fragrant cocktail is made with Saicho Jasmine, a sparkling jasmine tea that makes a great alcohol-free aperitif on its own.
Garnish: Rose petal
Ingredients: 75ml Saicho Jasmine, 75ml rosé champagne, 5 drops rosewater
Method: Chill all of the ingredients, add to a flute and stir gently to mix. Garnish with a rose petal.
If you like fruity French Martinis, this gin-based twist is a good alternative. Vegans can use aquafaba (drained chickpea liquid) instead of egg white to produce the creamy top layer.
Glass: Martini or coupe
Garnish: Half a passion fruit
Ingredients: 50ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin, 25ml lemon juice, 12.5ml triple sec, 12.5ml passion fruit syrup, 1 passion fruit, 1 egg white
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.
This refreshing highball is easy to make. Shop-bought raspberry and ginger syrups work perfectly here: try Monin Premium Raspberry Syrup and Funkin Ginger Syrup. But if you fancy making your own, combine equal parts of raspberry jam, ginger conserve and hot water in a pan and stir over a low heat until dissolved. Once cooled, strain into a sterilised bottle and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Garnish: Edible flower and lime twist
Ingredients: 50ml Caorunn Scottish Raspberry Gin, 20ml lime juice, 10ml raspberry syrup, 10ml ginger syrup
Method: Put all of the ingredients except the soda water in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top with soda water. Stir gently to mix and garnish.
This twist on an Espresso Martini is made with Cognac instead of vodka, for 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
Ingredients: 45ml Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal, 30ml espresso, 15ml coffee liqueur, 15ml sugar syrup
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.
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