Every February 14, I can’t help wondering what the devout third-century priest named Valentine would have made of the fact that he’s now remembered as a day for couples to exchange chocolates and get drunk on champagne. Many bars have been celebrating Valentine’s Day since Friday, and quite a few have been offering special cocktails to mark the occasion.
The Purple Bar at the Sanderson Hotel in London came up with a package for gents to pop the question to their girlfriends. It consists of a pair of cocktails called The Proposal, served in lavish Baccarat champagne flutes, made with a blend of crushed fresh plums with hibiscus nectar, topped up with Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1995. Beforehand, guests are invited to nearby jewellery store Stephen Webster to select a ring.
At the new Zenna bar downstairs at The Red Fort in Soho, London, bar manager Dan Thomson has come up with a sharing cocktail called the Karma Sutra which he says are two different traditional love potions as described in the ancient lovers’ guide. The first is an intoxicating blend of Stolichnaya vodka, blue lotus, honey, lemon and blue curaçao, topped up with soda, while the second is made with Chairman’s Reserve rum, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, cardamom seeds and pear juice.
A Valentine’s Day cocktail has been promoted to bars, pubs and clubs by drinks company Halewood International for its premium bison grass vodka brand Grasovka, called the GrasovKiss:2 oz Grasovka bison grass vodka
1 oz Raspberry syrup
¼ oz Lemon juice
Dash of apple juice
Dash of lemonade
Stir with ice in a highball glass and garnish with fresh raspberries.
The Bowler bar and restaurant in Wandsworth Common in south-west London is offering a special cocktail list that was developed for both romantic couples and girls on a night-out. They include the Heartbreaker, made with vanilla vodka shaken with lime, pineapple juice and a touch of chilli, and then laced with a splash of dark rum. Other options include the Passionnata, based on a Passionfruit Bellini, and a Flirtini (pictured top), which is a blend of cranberry juice, Malibu and Southern Comfort.
At ETM Group’s food pub The Gun in London’s Docklands, women can be treated to a dozen red roses, a goody bag and a choice of rom-coms to play on a personal 42-inch plasma screen. They can also enjoy Love Potion cocktails mixed at their table, made with fresh rhubarb puree and home-made rosebud syrup, gently stirred with champagne.
The team at U’Luvka vodka has come up with a Valentine’s cocktail, for sharing between two, called U’Luv Me:
2 parts U’Luvka
1 part St Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 part Sugar syrup
1/2 part Lemon juice
A dash of absinthe
In a shaker, muddle the strawberry into a nice pureé. Add the lemon juice, syrup, St Germain, and vodka, and leave on the side. Coat the inside of a chilled Martini glass with absinthe. Shake with ice and strain into the glass. Top up with champagne and garnish with a strawberry.
Even that tough guy of the spirits world, bourbon, softened up for Valentine’s Day. Inspirit Brands promoted a recipe for its premium whiskey brand Four Roses called the Saint Valentine:
40ml Four Roses Yellow Label
10ml Hibiscus syrup
In a flute add the bourbon and two barspoons of syrup from a jar of edible preserved hibiscus flowers. Stir and then top with champagne and garnish with a preserved hibiscus flower.
Last year, we were contacted by TV channel HBO with some cocktail recipes for Halloween using the Tru Blood soft drink sold through their website to support vampire TV series True Blood. They were back in touch again for Valentine’s with some more bloody cocktails. They include My Bloody Valentine, made with Tru Blood, Midori, strawberry liqueur and lime juice. It is a timely reminder that, for some of us singletons, Valentine’s Day is more about horror than romance.