For Valentine’s Day, you might be in the habit of reaching for a bottle or two of rich, deep, tooth-staining, love-inducing red wine. And that’s all well and good! Wine is wonderful any day of the year. But why not try something new?
Cocktails make for an activity to share, and they provide a fun new project for those of us used to grabbing the corkscrew every time we want a drink. So, do some plotting with your partner and plan for a new cocktail (or two!) to make this Valentine’s Day.
Here’s the thing: sometimes you want to feel like you’re on vacation. Sometimes you want to feel like it’s summertime (not February) when bathing suits and swimming pools and beaches are a possibility. A strawberry margarita can do that for you. Especially one that’s nice and balanced, not frozen and cloying.
Superfine sugar or salt for the glass rim
3 fresh strawberries, cut in half + 1 whole strawberry
¾ ounce strawberry schnapps or liquor
1 ½ ounce Tequila Blanco
¾ ounce Triple Sec
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
1. Rim cocktail glass with lime and sugar or salt. Muddle strawberries with the schnapps or strawberry liquor in cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice into cocktail shaker and shake.
2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into the rimmed cocktail glass.
3. Add ice to glass. Garnish with whole strawberry.
If you want a cocktail that will match your red roses and your heart-shaped box of chocolates, go for this one, which mixes gin and dry vermouth with a touch of sweetness from cherry brandy.
1 1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce cherry-flavored brandy
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
Stir the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass (a pint glass or shaker would also do) for about 30 seconds.
Strain into a martini glass or a coupe and enjoy!
This is like a hot toddy in chilled form: smooth but not too sweet, bright from lemon, with bourbon’s perfect cold-weather richness. Bonus: you can keep the extra honey syrup on hand for weeks.
2 ounces bourbon
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz of homemade honey syrup
1. To make honey syrup, mix equal parts honey and water vigorously until blended. The syrup will keep for about 5-6 days.
2. Combine bourbon, lime juice, and honey syrup in shaker with ice and shake.
3. Strain into a lowball or old-fashioned glass and serve with large ice cubes.
If you like a nice light cocktail with a little something green in it, this is the option for you. The cucumber and mint here will calm you down, which you might be needing with all the Valentine’s Day frenzy buzzing around you.
3 cucumber slices
5-6 fresh mint leaves
1 ½ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1. Muddle cucumber and mint with the simple syrup in a shaker.
2. Add vodka and lime juice.
3. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a fresh mint spring.