Every cocktail has a personality: some are bubbly and exuberant, some are calm and relaxing, some are romantic. With Valentine’s Day coming tomorrow, here is a collection of cocktails that I consider to be very romantic.
Let’s start with a few champagne-based cocktails – because after all, what could be more romantic than champagne? (Please note: For all champagne-based cocktails, Prosecco, cava, or other sparkling wine may be used.)
A simple classic that adds just a hint of extra sweetness and bitterness.
Start with a chilled champagne flute, drop in a sugar cube, add a few dashes of bitters, and fill with champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Another simple recipe that adds a touch of sweetness and just a hint of citrus.
Pour a generous splash of Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or triple sec into a champagne flute and fill with champagne. Garnish with an orange twist.
The smokiness of cognac adds a depth of flavor to this class champagne cocktail.
In a cocktail shaker of ice, add 1 oz. brandy or cognac, ½ oz. lemon juice, and ½ oz. simple syrup. Shake well; pour into a champagne flute. Top with 2 oz. champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Next, at the risk of being obvious, how about cocktails that are red or pink?
Cranberry Ginger Martini
Ginger is often considered an aphrodisiac, and its heat combines well with the sweet-tart of cranberry juice to give a romantic variation on a Cosmopolitan.
Grate a few teaspoons of fresh ginger, muddle in a cocktail shaker along with a handful of fresh or frozen cranberries. Add ice, 4 oz. vodka, a generous splash of cranberry juice, a splash of lime juice, and a splash of simple syrup. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with Sprite or 7-Up and garnish with a lemon twist.
A margarita brings to mind the sultry spiciness of Hispanic culture, and this salty-sweet version delivers on that promise.
Prepare a margarita glass by running a lime wedge around the edge and dipping it in decorator’s sugar or margarita salt. Place in freezer until ready to serve. In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine 3 oz. tequila, 1-1/2 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. simple syrup, and ½ oz. Chambord. Shake well and strain into prepared glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
This exotic martini has an unusual deep red color not unlike a Manhattan - but oh, so much more romantic.
In a cocktail shaker over ice, mix 2 oz. Chambord, 1 oz. vanilla vodka (or vodka plus a splash of Tuaca), ½ oz. triple sec. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry and or fresh raspberries. If you want to get really fancy, float a bit of sparkling water on the top.
Of course, nothing says romance like chocolate, so this list would not be complete without a few chocolate-based treats.
In the land of chocolate, Godiva is king, and so is this rich, creamy, double chocolate martini.
Drizzle chocolate syrup in a chilled martini glass – just inside the rim, or make a pattern in the bottom of the glass. Chill in freezer until ready to serve. In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine 1-1/2 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur, 1-1/2 oz. crème de cacao, ½ oz. vanilla vodka (or vodka and Tuaca), and 2-1/2 oz. half and half. Strain into prepared glass. If desired, garnish with shaved chocolate.
Bailey’s Chocolate Martini
Creme de cacao delivers a more subtle chocolate flavor to this creamy treat, accented by the addition of Bailey's Irish Cream.
Drizzle chocolate syrup in a chilled martini glass and chill in freezer until ready to serve. In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine 1 oz. vanilla vodka (or vodka and Tuaca), ½ oz. crème de cacao, and 2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream. Shake and strain into prepared glass.
Chocolate Raspberry Truffletini
Chocolate and raspberry is a wonderful combination, but the hint of nuttiness from the amaretto brings it to another level.
In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine 2 oz. vanilla vodka (or vodka and Tuaca), 1 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream, ¾ oz. Chambord, ¾ oz. Kahlua, and ½ oz. amaretto. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with chocolate shavings and fresh raspberries.
And finally, what could be more romantic than a sweet, whipped-cream-topped dessert drink to finish off a romantic evening? Try ending your date with one of these sweet treats and you might just find it won’t end after all!
Caramel Macchiato Martini
Butterscotch can sometimes be overly sweet, but the bitterness of Kahlua and the smoothness of vanilla mellow the sweetness to perfection.
Over ice in a cocktail shaker, combine 2 oz. Bailey’s Caramel Liqueur (or 1 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream and 1 oz. butterscotch schnapps), 1-1/2 oz. Kahlua, 1 oz. vanilla vodka (or vodka and Tuaca), and 1-1/2 oz. half and half. Top generously with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.
Lemon Meringue Pie Martini
Tart, sweet, creamy, rich - this cocktail combines the best of every dessert into one fantastic finish.
Wet the edge of a chilled martini glass with lemon juice and dip in graham cracker crumbs. Chill in freezer until ready to serve. In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine ½ oz. vanilla vodka (or vodka and Tuaca), 2 oz. triple sec, 3 oz. half and half, and ½ oz. sweet and sour mix (or lemonade concentrate). Shake and strain into prepared glass. Top with whipped cream and a lemon twist.
Spanish Hot Chocolate
Some of my favorite dessert drinks are served hot, so the whipped cream melts into the chocolate and the warmth of the liqueur combines with the warmth of the hot chocolate, heating you right down to your toes. Isn't that romantic!
Pour 2-1/2 oz. cognac or brandy and 1-1/2 oz. Godiva chocolate liqueur into a glass or ceramic mug. Add 4 oz. hot chocolate and stir. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a piece of dark chocolate or chocolate shavings.
Happy Valentine's Day to you and whomever you're sharing it with (even if it's just your old pals Ben and Jerry - and especially then)!