By Paul Abercrombie
I'm going to talk about making Valentine's Day cocktails, so if you can't stomach the notion that a drink can be both pink and good, this won't be for you. Come to think of it, if you're unable to be seen – and I'm addressing a certain type of guy – sipping a rose-colored cocktail, you've either been drinking the wrong stuff or have deeper issues to resolve. For the rest of you intrepid tipplers (unfussy drunks, too), here are a few pink-hued drinks that should make your Valentine swoon.
First up is Aperol Spritz, a refreshing pre-dinner cocktail that's really more orangey-pink. But it's exotically pretty – bubbly without Champagne's price – and delicious. It's also ridiculously easy to make. Aperol, a faintly bitter-orange based Italian aperitif, gives this drink is exotic look and zing. Come to think of it, you'll want a bottle of this stuff around for other great drinks we'll be making in the weeks ahead.
- 1 and 1/2 ounces of Aperol
- 2 ounces of chilled organic Prosecco (I like Mionetto's organic) or other sparkling wine (I say go full Italian)
- a splash of chilled seltzer
- lemon twist
In a champagne flute simply pour the Aperol, Prosecco, and a splash of chilled seltzer. Then, garnish with a lemon twist. If you like less Aperol, back off on it. You can also skip the splash of seltzer, if you like. In other words, make drinks like you like 'em.
If heat is what your romantic heart – and palate – craves, try a cocktail called Coming in Hot! In this remarkably multifaceted drink, a few teensy slivers of jalapeno transform what would be a tasty but ho-hum strawberry margarita into a modern classic. Created by mixologist Carlos Yturria, this drink is featured in my book, Organic Shaken and Stirred.
- 2 organic strawberries, hulled
- 4 slivers peeled and seeded organic jalapeno chile
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
- 1 and 1/2 ounces organic reposado tequila
- 1/2 ounce organic agave nectar
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries, 3 of the jalapeno slivers, and lemon until well mashed. Add the tequila and agave nectar, and fill the shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously, then strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the remaining jalapeno sliver.
Martinis are the dozen red roses of cocktails. A perfectly fine drink, but about as romantic as scheduled nookie. Instead, try a Martinez. No, this isn't the martini's Latino cousin. Rather, the Martinez is a precursor to the martini – and a far better drink, I think. Very old-school and very sexy. Plus, it has a nice rosy hue.
Here's a modern version of the Martinez...
- 2 ounces gin (Bluecoat, made with organic ingredients, works nicely)
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Punt e Mes is a good brand; Carpano Antica is best)
- 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur (Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
- Dash of orange bitters (Angostura Orange Bitters is a good fit, though most any will do fine)
Into a mixing glass go the gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Top with ice and stir with a bar spoon until well chilled (about 20 seconds of stirring should do it). Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with lemon peel.
Unlike many cocktail geeks, I'm no Cosmo hater. I'm not a fan; but I don't sneer at folks who are. Properly made, a Cosmopolitan is a perfectly fine drink. However, a poorly made Cosmo is sublimely wrong. As with any cocktail, if you're going to make one, make it right. And come on, making your date a great drink with confidence and flair can only be a good thing.
First, I know many recipes for this drink call for Rose's Lime Juice. Don't use it. Why? Because it sucks. Sorry, it just does.
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed organic lime juice
- 1/2 ounce organic cranberry juice (fresh, if possible)
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau (or Combier, which I like better)
- 1 ounce organic vodka
In cocktail shaker add all ingredients. Top with ice cubes. Shake like Mr. Big is chasing you. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish, if you like, with lime slice on rim of glass.