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On the rocks: 3 romantic Valentine’s Day cocktails

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No special occasion is needed to wow your significant other with a well-crafted cocktail, but Valentine’s Day is an appropriate excuse nonetheless. Whether you’re staying in – and if you are, The-Quill has you covered – or coming back home from a night out (maybe at one of these fine establishments?), sharing a drink can be a romantic addition to a couple’s night. (So long as that couple is 21 or over.)

But not all cocktails are created equal and certainly not all cocktails are appropriate for all occasions. You should probably not serve white russians at your pool party and mojitos just don’t work right at Christmas.

So what should you mix up for that special someone on a day dedicated to love?

Below we offer three drink recipes that serve three different needs. We hope you find one that works well for you!

[box] “If you were to ask me if I’d ever had the bad luck to miss my daily cocktail, I’d have to say that I doubt it; where certain things are concerned, I plan ahead.” – Luis Buñuel (Film director, surrealist)[/box]

Prosecco and pomegranate

(Staff Photo:  Sean Gill)

(Staff Photo: Sean Gill)

Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine that, unlike other similar wines, is generally not fermented in the bottle and not designed to be aged. The result? A sparkling wine that generally costs less than $20 a bottle.

Many prosecco variants exist, from brut to very dry, fizzante to spumante – but this cocktail lends itself to a sweeter, bubblier version – a brut spumante. Good news, Cupcake makes one that sells in most markets for less than $10 a bottle.

A higher-octane, less-fruit imbibed version of the traditional bellini, the peaches in that classic drink are replaced here with pomegranate liqueur for a libation that’s just as light and breezy – like the hills of Italy that spawn both the pomegranate and the prosecco grape. This is clearly the sexiest cocktail of the group, destined to be consumed by well-dressed lovers coming home from a night on the town.

3 Parts Prosecco, chilled

1 Part Pomegranate liqueur (such as PAMA)

Pour the liqueur into a champagne flute or wine glass.  Add prosecco slowly, allowing it to mix. Do not stir. Serve.

 

The Amaretto Sour

(Staff Photo:  Sean Gill)

(Staff Photo: Sean Gill)

Nothin’ says lovin’ like straight alcohol mixed with some pre-bottled sour mix that tastes like it was originally made by a drunken, unshaven version of the Kool-Aid man sometime in the 80‘s. Nothing except, you know, a well-crafted cocktail that takes advantage of the delicate flavors of a quality amaretto and fresh squeezed citrus juice.

The primary taste of amaretto is almond, which is a little disconcerting because many amarettos are flavored with apricot kernels and contain no almond whatsoever. For this drink I recommend Lazzaroni’s amaretto, which contains neither apricot kernels or almonds, but is actually made through infusion with . . . cookies. Yes, cookies. The result is an amazingly delicate flavor that is, at the same time, remarkably complex.

This drink is a twist on, famous mixologist, Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s self-proclaimed, best-in-the-world amaretto sour. His recipe calls for bolstering the amaretto with cask-aged bourbon and adds some egg white for smoothness. Here, we replace the cask-aged bourbon with a more traditional, less powerful, straight bourbon whiskey like Knob Creek and omit the egg white, because it’s messy and some people just don’t find raw egg all that appealing. The result is a powerful drink that can, and should, be sipped over a long, sensual conversation that involves lots of meaningful eye contact and delicate touches to the hands and arms.

 

3 oz Lazzaroni amaretto

1.5 oz Knob Creek bourbon

2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice 

2 tsp 2:1 simple syrup (that’s 2 tsp of water mixed with 4 tsp of sugar and heated until they form a solution)  

 

Place all ingredients in a shaker and dry shake to combine. Add ice and shake vigorously until you feel condensation beginning to form on the outside. Strain into two separate glasses filled with ice and serve. Sip slowly, as the ice in this drink adds a critical diluting element.

 

The Cherry Chocolate Chill

(Staff Photo:  Sean Gill)

(Staff Photo: Sean Gill)

It’s a widely propagated belief that the way to a woman’s heart is through chocolate. A little known fact is that this is also the way to a man’s heart. Coupled with a full dose of heavy cream, this decadent drink – crafted by the folks at Grey Goose – is designed to appeal to anyone shivering through a frigid Maryland February.

The flavors here are largely reminiscent of Christmas, and what better way to your loved one’s heart – male or female – than through pseudo-memories of chocolate covered cherries enjoyed  in front of a warm fire during the happiest time of the year?

1 Part Grey Goose Cherry Noir

1/2 Part Peppermint schnapps

1 Part Heavy cream

1 Part Chocolate syrup

Combine all ingredients in shaker, add ice, and shake until condensation forms.  Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice.  

 

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