Posted February 6, 2014

A Toast to Love: Valentine Cocktails

Eat + Drink

You know Valentine’s Day is right around the corner when you start sweating about obligatory jewelry purchases and convenience stores get dolled up in more pink than a Lisa Frank binder. One of the crucial keystones of Valentine’s Day, as we all know, is chocolate, that most luscious of aphrodisiacs. The romantic holiday gives couples and singles alike newfound excuses to horde chocolate after all those pesky New Year’s resolutions ruin all the fun. The day just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Pucker up for a Controne Kiss.

We know the importance of chocolate … and of a great cocktail. So our bar stars have whipped up some chocolaty creations that could have come straight out of an Oompa Loompa test kitchen.

And for those who aren’t so smitten with the cocoa mistress (we won’t try to guess why), we offer some other delectable potables that will ensure a great Valentine’s Day, regardless of your relationship status.

Controne Kiss

Tulio Ristorante, Seattle

Bartender: Sheri Kelly

1½ ounces Partida Blanco Tequila

¼ ounce Meletti Cioccolato chocolate liqueur

¼ ounce Giffard Cassis Noir de Bourgogne blackcurrant liqueur

3 dashes chocolate-chili bitters

Controne chili-sugar rim

Combine all spirits and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Shake and strain into a Controne chili-sugar rimmed martini glass and serve.

Pimandes, would you be mine?


Poste, Washington, D.C.

Bartender:Chef Dennis Marron (he was a bartender in a previous life)

For drink:

1¼ ounces WhistlePig Rye Whiskey

¼ ounce Grand Marnier

3 ounces spicy hot chocolate

For garnish:

Amaretto whipped marshmallow

Chocolate-covered almonds (spicy if you can find them)

Espelette (or other mild chili powder)

For whipped marshmallow:

¾ cup heavy cream

½ cup marshmallow creme

2 tablespoons amaretto

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For whipped marshmallow, combine all ingredients and whip to medium peaks. In an Irish coffee glass add WhistlePig whiskey, Grand Marnier and spicy hot chocolate (brands include Dagoba, Equal Exchange and Lake Champlain Chocolates). Top with amaretto whipped marshmallow. Garnish with almonds and dust with Espelette.


Along Came Cupid … with a cocktail.

Along Came Cupid

BLVD 16, Los Angeles

Bartender: Josh Porter

2 ounces Nolet’s Gin

½ ounce FAIR Spirit’s Goji Liqueur

½ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

¾ ounce fresh lemon

¼ ounce simple syrup

Combine all ingredients and shake. Double strain into a cocktail coupe. Float dark chocolate shaving. Nibble, sip, repeat.


And for those who don’t want to mix their candy with their cocktails …

That’s the Power of Love.

Power of Love

Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago

Bartender: Mike Ryan

¾ ounces Buffalo Trace bourbon

¾ ounces Carpano Antica vermouth

¾ ounces ginger syrup

¾ ounces fresh lemon

1 egg white

Shake, strain and serve up.


And, lastly, for those who’d like to poke St. Valentine in the eye …

Wilted Bouquet  “A potent potable to consume while contemplating the ultimate demise of that !@$#%& who broke your heart.”

Firefly, Washington, D.C.

Bartender: Jon Harris

Toss back a Wilted Bouquet.

2 ounces Campari

1 ounce Smith & Cross Navy Strength Rum

2 dashes rose water

1 dash lavender bitters

Jon Harris’ directions: Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. To garnish, take one brandied cherry and squeeze it between your fingers over the glass to mimic the effect of what you’d like to do to his evil, conniving heart. Then drop his metaphorical smashed heart into the glass. Consume and consider how you could possibly get away with it.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

— Matt Kirouac