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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cocktails for your Valentine’s Day celebration

The Cosmopolitan is a classic favorite.

It’s Valentine’s Day again, and time to plan your cocktail strategy for the big day!  If you’re going out for dinner, you should only have one cocktail or glass of wine at the restaurant so you can safely drive home.  Or you can take a cab (that’s even better).  If you’re cooking a special Valentine’s Day dinner, you can always start with a pre-dinner cocktail and have some wine with dinner.  Either way, a good strategy for getting a Valentine’s treat later this evening is to finish with cocktails at home.  So here are a few fast and easy cocktails to help you achieve your goal.  Some are red (or at least pink), and others are chocolate (a good way to any Valentine’s heart).  Have a great Valentine’s Day, and an exciting date night.

Let’s start with a classic: the Cranberry Champagne Cocktail.  All it takes is a little Grand Marnier (or triple sec), a little cranberry juice, and some champagne.  If the cranberry juice is not cold, you might want to ice the juice and Grand Marnier for a few minutes to ensure your cocktail is fresh and cold.  You can build it in the glass: pour in the cranberry juice, add the Grand Marnier, and top it off with champagne.

If you’re in the mood for something a little stronger than a Champagne cocktail, try a French 75.  Named after the famous French cannon of World War I, this little beauty has a nice kick and never misfires.  The original French recipe only calls for four ingredients, champagne included, and no mixing or shaking.  I recommend that you either shake or stir the non-champagne ingredients (Gin etc.) with ice to chill them down so they don’t warm up your champagne.  Serve it in a flute or (if you want more room for champagne) a white wine glass. 

Now let’s switch to some chocolate-based drink for your sweetie’s sweet tooth on Valentine’s Day.  Chocolate-based drinks tend to be sweeter and heavier, just look at the way this one coats the glass; you can even use it as a replacement for dessert.  I found the Chocomintini at a bar in San Francisco long enough ago that its (the bar’s) name is lost in memory.  This one is a little stronger than it sounds, consisting entirely of liquor and liqueurs.  This one is good at Christmas, too, but skip the holiday garnish for Valentine’s.

And what would Valentine’s Day be without a Chocolate Covered Cherry? There are a lot of recipes for the Chocolate Covered Cherry floating around out there, and all of them are good if you like a sweet drink every now and then.  This recipe has the unbeatable combination of Baileys Irish Cream, coconut rum, and Amaretto, and while it’s a little sweet, it’s nowhere near as sweet as a real chocolate covered cherry.  This one is good at Christmas, too, but skip the holiday garnish for Valentine’s.  Note that the Chocolate Covered Cherry has three ounces of liqueurs in it, but don’t worry: it comes out to only about 20% ABV.

If you’re a Vodka lover looking for something a little stronger, where would Valentine’s Day be without the Cosmopolitan?  This classic from the seventies is nice and light and always popular.  Don’t have too many, it’s stronger than you think.  While a good Cosmo is pink, not red, adding more Cranberry juice can add color and flavor to your own (and your Valentine’s) taste. 

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