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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine’s Day Cocktails – Red

As I was starting to plan our Saint Valentine’s Day festivities (my wife and I have been married almost 34 years), I realized I should have a variety of cocktails lined up so that we might move whichever direction the good saint takes us.  For Valentine’s Day cocktails, I think either red (for color) or chocolate (for flavor).  You might say this isn’t very imaginative, but I’m in it for the taste.

I’ll start out with an aperitif that is simplicity itself – the Kir Royale.  This drink only requires a little Crème de Cassis and whatever Champagne you have lying around the house.  (You did stock up on Champagne for Valentine’s Day, didn’t you?)

Keeping things simple (in case you’re cooking a gourmet dinner for your Valentine… I know I will be) is easy with a Cranberry Champagne Cocktail.  All it takes is a little Grand Marnier (or triple sec), a little cranberry juice, and more of your precious stock of champagne.

Now for a classic.  Where would Valentine’s Day be without the Cosmopolitan?  You don’t really have to measure the cranberry juice, a good splash will do.  I like them tart, but feel free to adjust the lime juice to your own taste.  A variation on the Cosmo is the Mango Kiss.  The name is more romantic (in honor of the day) and makes me think of love on a tropical island.

For holidays, I like to vary my garnishes.  I sometimes take the sugar-coated jelly candies that are available in grocery or drug stores around the holiday, cut a slit with a sharp knife, and slide them onto the lip of the glass.  Cocktail purists may complain, but some people (those with a sweet tooth) eat them up.  For Valentine’s Day, look for hearts or cupids.  If this is too sweet, drop in a few red berries or some dried Montmorency cherries for a different look.

That’s four cocktails, and we haven’t even gotten to the chocolate ones.  I’ll have to save them for the next post.


Kir Royale

½ to 1 oz Crème de Cassis


Pour Crème de Cassis into a champagne flute. (Adjust quantity inversely with the quality of the Champagne.)   Fill flute with ice cold Champagne.  Enjoy the music. (Note: For a Kir, just use white wine.  Great any day while cooking dinner)


Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

¼ oz Grand Marnier®

1 oz cranberry juice


Pour Grand Marnier into a champagne flute.  Add cranberry juice.   Fill flute with ice cold Champagne.  Garnish with sliver of orange peel.



2 oz vodka, straight from the freezer

½ oz triple sec (or Grand Marnier®)

Juice of ¼ lime

2 oz cranberry juice

Add the ingredients to a shaker full of ice.  Shake con brio until you know it’s ready.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.   For the classic Cosmo, garnish with a lime wheel.  To get a deeper red color, add more cranberry juice and use Grand Marnier instead of triple sec.


Mango Kiss

2 oz Finlandia Mango Fusion® vodka

½ oz triple sec (or Grand Marnier®)

Juice of ¼ lime

2 oz cranberry juice

Add the ingredients to a shaker full of ice.  Shake while you contemplate the evening ahead.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.   Garnish with a lime wheel. 



  1. Shannon:
    If you're on a budget and want to do Kir Royale w/o having to spend a lot, but would like better creme de cassis than a run-of-the-mill brand, you can try Bonny Doon Framboise, which is very good and comes in a 375 ml size. Also, remember you can get by with a less expensive champagne because you're adding to it.
    Have fun!