Valentine’s Day might be a few months away, but holidays have a tendency to sneak up on you faster than you think. A nice way to celebrate with your person of interest is by making a cocktail or two at home, and there are some that just feel more suited to this romantic occasion than others.
So what makes a good Valentine’s Day cocktail? Maybe it’s red, perhaps there is some chocolate involved, it could be a winter warmer, or maybe the drink incorporates some expensive cognac or bourbon — think Old Fashioned rather than Margarita.
Here are eight Valentine’s Day cocktails to try to make at home this year. All are pretty simple to put together but will impress your loved one with both flavor and presentation.
1. Coffee Old Fashioned
2 parts Courvoisier XO Cognac
1/4 parts Cold Brew Concentrate simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura Orange bitters
1:1 ratio of superfine sugar and cold brew concentrate.
Method: Build everything into the glass, add ice, stir and garnish of an orange swath.
2. Apple of My Eye
1.5 oz Monkey Shoulder
3.5 oz apple cider
2 dash Angostura bitters
2 dash orange bitters
Method: Bring apple cider to a simmer in a saucepan, add Monkey & bitters, stir, transfer to hot toddy glass. Garnish with orange wheel dotted with cloves.
3. Reserva Exclusiva Hot Cocoa
1 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
1 cup hot almond milk
1 spoon cocoa powder (> 70% cocoa)
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground turmeric
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and serve in a glass cup. Garnish with whipped cream and cacao nibs.
4. Red Velvet
2 oz D’usse Cognac
1.5 oz Crème de Cacao
.5 oz simple syrup
3 dashes chocolate mole bitters
Method: Muddle raspberries and simple syrup in a shaker. Add D’USSÉ, crème de cacao, bitters and ice. Shake vigorously and double-strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
5. Chocolate Anejo
1 oz Código 1530 Anejo
2 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1 oz Baileys Irish Cream
Method: Shake everything and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a chocolate swirl.
6. Mount Gay Rum Cinaberry Old Fashioned
1.5 cups Mount Gay Black Barrel
.5 oz cranberry cinnamon simple syrup
1/8 tsp orange bitters
Method: Put all ingredients in a rocks glass. Add a clear ice cube. Stir and garnish with orange zest.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
2 oz Bib & Tucker 6-Year-Old Bourbon
.75 oz sour cherries syrup
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Dash of Angostura bitters
Method: Serve in a double rocks glass over ice. Garnish with lemon wedge.
8. Cocktail Modena in “Manhattan”
2 oz bourbon
.75 oz Italian sweet vermouth
.25 oz Carandini Emilio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
2 dashes of whiskey barrel-aged bitters
Method: In a small saucepan over heat, reduce a small amount of Carandini Emilio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena until syrupy. Set aside and let cool completely. Pour onto a plate creating a flat layer. Dip the rim of your coupe glass in the vinegar reduction and set aside. Add the bourbon, vermouth, Balsamic vinegar, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until chilled. Strain into your coupe glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.