10 Romantic Cocktails & Pairings to enjoy on Valentine’s Day
The perfect cocktails, spirits and liqueurs to set the mood this Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is nearly here and this year promises to be a very different affair for many. With curfews, lockdowns, social distancing restrictions, and travel bans in place across much of the globe, there is a much bigger focus on staying put, having a meal at home and cuddling up on the sofa with a few well-chosen drinks.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of delicious drinks choices – from those with aphrodisiac ingredients and flavours to others that will simply wow in a romantic cocktail party for two. Whichever ones you choose, they’ll be sure to make you thankful you stayed in with your loved one this Valentine’s Day.
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Neat, paired with Oysters
Flavour profile: Pure, Smooth, Sensual
Let’s start with the classically sensual pairing of vodka and oysters. La Philosophie Vodka is a small-batch artisanal vodka from Cognac, France. It is made using locally sourced ingredients and has a smooth, crisp flavour with a touch of citrus and a long peppery finish.
Sipped neat and ice cold, La Philosophe is perfect to pair with silky, lightly saline oysters, which contain an abundance of zinc (important in the production of testosterone) as well as dopamine, (the brain chemical that increases joy and desire). Enjoy at the start of your Valentine’s evening celebrations as a distinctive mood setter.
2. La Capricieuse Salted Caramel Liqueur
HOW TO ENJOY IT: On the rocks or over your crêpes
Flavour profile: Soft, Light, Sweet
Playful in both name and nature, La Capricieuse was formed by two friends from Berry in France, who wanted to pay homage to their hometown. The ancient region is well-known for its rolling green fields and picturesque farmland. This led the duo to the idea to create cow and goat milk liqueurs.
La Capricieuse Salted Caramel is a cow milk liqueur that is a love letter to Brittany, with a sophisticated, gourmet touch that complements the playful, sweet, candy flavours of the caramel. Luscious, seductively smooth and tantalizingly sweet, makes for a wonderful alternative to dessert, or a lavish brunch treat poured over crêpes, accompanied by strawberries and melted dark chocolate.
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Erika Old Tom Collins
Flavour profile: Velvety, Floral, Sweet
Honey has been prescribed as an aphrodisiac since ancient Greece. Containing boron, used in the regulation of hormone levels; nitric oxide (which helps increase blood flow); and vitamin B (said to trigger testosterone production), there’s a lot going on that could bolster your Valentine’s Day celebrations. And, if that doesn’t do the trick, well at least you have a damn fine drink.
Erika Spirit’s Old Tom Gin is an updated artisanal version of the classic gin recipe. Using the same base as their original Dry Gin, the team then macerate rosemary, tarragon and wild roses, which are added after distillation. These botanicals are sourced locally from the biodiverse Altair garden in the heart of picturesque Dordogne, France. To finish off the Old Tom Gin recipe, it is sweetened with home-made acacia honey from one of the co-founder’s bee farm.
Recipe: Add a double measure of Erika Old Tom Gin, along with acacia honey and lemon juice to taste (we usually go for 20 ml of each) to a highball glass. Stir to combine before adding ice and topping up with soda water. Serve with a rose to your loved one and sip away together in sweet bliss.
4. Lehmanns Coup de Foudre Whisky
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Neat or On the Rocks
Flavour profile: Warming, Fruity, White Chocolate
Love will certainly be in the air with Lehmanns Coup de Foudre single malt French whisky. Meaning “love at first sight”, Coupe de Foudre is an exceptional whisky from Alsace. Double-distilled in Charentes-style copper still and then aged for five years in barrels that once stored cognac, the single malt boasts a regally rich and glidingly smooth mouthfeel housing notes of white chocolate, green pepper, malt, apricot and dried fruit.
Robing, tantalisingly complex and delightfully balanced, a neat glass of this perfect as an after dinner digestif, sipped slowly and deliberately whilst gazing into the eyes of your Valentine. Add a few cubes of ice if you want to add some temperature play into the mix and bring out more of those bright fruit notes.
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Classic Gin Cocktail
Flavour profile: Intense, Aromatic, Patisserie
Not a fan of pink gin? Never fear! This is not your average pink gin in that it’s not actually pink, nor is it super sweet and fruity. Instead, the exceptional folks at Audemus have created an intense, hand-crafted botanical gin with bold, aromatic flavours with rousing notes of pink peppercorn.
Nine botanicals make up this noteworthy gin, including fragrant cardamom and juniper, as well as locally sourced honey, calmly vanilla and the “love-wishing bean” tonka bean (rumoured to summon courage, as well as being an aphrodisiac – need we say more). At room temperature, the fresh peppercorn and juniper notes make themselves known. A few degrees cooler and the sweet honey and vanilla bakery flavours will take over.
Recipe: Let the truly character of this precisely balanced gin sing in a 2:1 gin to vermouth Martini, where the notes will change as the drink warms, or in a complex flavour twist on a Negroni with 30 ml of Pink Pepper Gin, Campai and Vermouth Rosso stirred over ice.
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Covert Cognac Coffee
Flavour profile: Deep, Fig, Bittersweet
Looking to dial up the suave confidence and debonair charm during our Valentine’s celebrations? Audemus’ Covert Liqueur is bound to do just that. Made with a trio of aromatic, local ingredients – spring honey, fig leaves, and cognac – the result is an intoxicating elixir with warming depths, evocative flavour and a refined balance of bitter notes and sweetness.
In Audemus’s hometown of Cognac, fig trees grow in abundance. Their heavy, sweet aromas are most apparent at the beginning of springtime when their leaves fill with sap. This is the moment at which Audemus harvests the leaves, before they are air-dried in the sun and lightly roasted by hand. The rich, bright perfumes from the fig leaves are retained and combined with the other ingredients along with a little cane sugar to accentuate the sweetness.
Recipe: Treat your partner with a Covert(ly) spiked coffee in bed to warm them up during this cold weather wave. Pour 25 ml of Covert Liqueur, 25 ml of cognac and 25 ml of espresso into a mug with a bit of sugar. As well as tasting decadently delightful, coffee increases stamina and dopamine levels. Serve this up with a piece of 75% cocoa chocolate for an extra bit of brain stimulace and appreciation from your spoilt partner.
7. Neta Bicuixe Destilado
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Neat with Cured Meats and Strawberries
Flavour profile: Strawberry, Artichoke, Rooibos
Neto Bicuixe is a spirit as unique and special as the reasons you fell for your Valentine. Produced by husband and wife team, Celso and Felicia Garcia Cruz in a tiny (100 residents) hamlet of Mexico’s Oaxaca, this superb destilado is named after the Bicuixe variety of agave. Each of the 300 wild agave that went into this batch were carefully selected, cooked in a conical earthen oven before fermentation, and then double-distilled in a copper still.
The pair’s 2017 Bicuixe vintage won ‘Best Agave’ at the Cocktail Spirits Paris 2019 awards. This small batch of only 200 bottles from June 2018 ups the alcohol content and has a palate and texture that is reminiscent of master mezcalero Celso’s award-winning batch. Complex aromas of citrus, fresh cut grass and rooibos tea pervade, translating beautifully onto the tongue, with the added blend of sweet, sour and smoke swirling around bright notes of strawberry, earthy artichoke and red fruit tea.
Indulge by sharing this stunning vintage alongside cured meats and fresh strawberries – trust us, it’s a winning combo.
8. Gewurztraminer Marc Brandy
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Neat as a Digestif
Flavour profile: Powerful, Rich, Cocoa Bean
Looking to make time stand still? Burying your nose in a glass of Gewurztraminer Marc brandy from the wonderful Lehmann Distillery in Alsace, will do just this.
It is produced from Gewurztraminer grapes, which are high in natural sugars with intense floral aromas (“Gewurzt” means perfume, herb or spice). The brandy was twice distilled in 1992 in the traditional manner in a copper, Charentes-style still. The distillate was “cut” at each stage of the process, removing the ends of the brandy to leave just the pure, rich, heart. Its luxurious, balanced character is a testament to the skill of its creators, weaving moreishly ripe, caramelized grape aromas together with overtones of chocolate to culminate in a rounded, rich and powerfully emotive palate.
Enjoy leisurely whilst wrapped in the arms of your lover or in a cosy blanket with your own wandering thoughts.
9. Koch Ensamble Mezcal
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Watermelon Chilli Cocktail
Flavour profile: Tropical, Herbal, Smoke
Sometimes variety is the spice of life and Koch Ensamble mezcal proves just that by bringing a quartet of agaves with distinct characters together to create a vibrant symphony of flavour notes.
Crafted by fifth generation mezcalero Pedro Hernandez from Oaxaca’s San Baltazar Guelavila, Koch Ensamble is a blend of four different agave varieties: Cirial, Tobalá, Tobasiche, and Lumbre. Tobalá provides sweet banana and floral top notes, while Cirial adds a citrusy, herbal arrangement. This is balanced by the earthy, woody tones from the Tobasiche agaves along with an oaky base from the Lumbre agaves. The array of flavours combines beautifully, together with a light smokiness, to create a multifaceted spirit that is new and exciting with every sip you take.
Rambunctious and engaging, drink Koch Ensamble neat or in any mezcal cocktail to introduce some kitchen dance party energy to your night. We love it with watermelon juice, a squeeze of agave syrup and a splash of soda water. Add a freshly cut red chilli to the mix to spice things up and help the body release endorphins and adrenaline.
10. Figli dei Fiori Saffron Liqueur
HOW TO ENJOY IT: Over Ice
Flavour profile: Floral, Intense, Pure
Figli dei Fiori (meaning “flower child”) is a range of mono-botanical liqueurs from Argalà that take you on a journey of the senses. The saffron expression is therefore a pure and enveloping distillation of this one glorious flower’s delicious properties.
Not only is saffron the most expensive spice in the world, there is also impressive evidence to support its effect on sex drive. Saffron’s history as an aphrodisiac dates back to Cleopatra, who reportedly bathed in saffron-infused milk for its aphrodisiac qualities. Recent studies have also shown that saffron also helps increase biological virility in male bodies and can decrease some of the negative sexual side effects from taking certain antidepressants.
If you want to treat your lover like a Queen (or King, for that matter), maybe skip the milk bath and instead pour them a healthy helping of this floral wonder.