In our initial search for the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail, most of the recipes we came across featured too-sweet drinks clumsily relying on fruit liqueurs, chocolate syrup, or heavy cream to play up the Valentine’s Day theme. These saccharine love potions seemed more appropriate for a club with bottle service than a quiet date night of craft cocktails at home and we were left wondering: how we could elevate the Valentine’s Day cocktail game?
In our opinion, the best cocktails taste complex while remaining relatively simple to make; cocktails for a great Valentine’s Date shouldn't be any different! Well after some hefty research (aka taste testing), we bring you the best Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes we could find! While we consider these perfect for a date night in, each of these cocktails is so tasty you’ll be left craving them year around.
Before we get into cocktails themselves, here’s a quick DIY lesson on the essential ingredient of two of these drinks: rose simple syrup! Making this simple syrup is far easier than its fancy ingredients or name suggest and it brings a unique flavor & color to drinks when used. If you’re feeling experimental, add a romantic twist to any cocktail calling for simple syrup by substituting in this homemade rose syrup. Without further ado, here’s your recipe for how to make rose syrup!
Rose Simple Syrup
1 cup rose petals
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Wash and dry the rose petals. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low, add the rose petals and simmer very gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain to remove petals and store in the refrigerator. Syrup will keep for 2-3 months.
1.5 oz gin
3/4 oz rose simple syrup (see above)
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz grapefruit juice
1 Cardamom Pod
- lightly muddle 1 cardamom pod at bottom of a shaker
- add remaining ingredients with ice and shake until cold
- strain into a highball glass over fresh ice to remove cardamom pod
- top with seltzer water and garnish with rose petal or fresh lemon wedge
Rose and Rye Cocktail with Orange Hop Bitters
A decadent drink featuring rose, rye and our Orange Hop Bitters, this cocktail definitely falls into the less is more category! Making the rose simple syrup ahead of time ensures that the drink is just a simple combination of a few ingredients. Couple that with a romantic presentation by garnishing with rose petals and you’ve got the perfect drink to kick off a romantic evening in or a great nightcap after a night on the town.
1 1⁄2 oz rye whiskey
3⁄4 oz. rose simple syrup (see above)
1⁄2 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Orange Hop Bitters
In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, syrup, lemon juice, and bitters with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with rose petals.
While not explicitly a Valentine’s Day drink, this cocktail’s use of maraschino liqueur and vermouth make it an easy drinking concoction for any occasion special or otherwise! Fondly referred to as the Grandfather of the Martini, this drink (like many classic cocktails) has a fuzzy origin but is believed to have made its first appearance in the mid-1880s. Originally commonly made in this sweeter version, when Prohibition hit the states many American bartenders headed to Europe, taking on the Europeans drier preferred style, substituting in dry vermouth instead of sweet. Whichever way you prefer it, the Martinez is a balanced, but boozy and slightly sweet cocktail that nods to the beginning of the cocktail revolution.
1 oz gin (recommend Old Tom style Gin)
2 oz sweet vermouth
1 tsp maraschino liqueur
Garnish: lemon twist
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Bitter Rose Elderflower Club
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz St. Elder Liqueur
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 oz grenadine (Morganthaler's recipe is great)
1/4 oz rose water
1 small egg white
Garnish with raspberries
First, combine all ingredients in a shaker & vigorously dry shake without ice for 15 seconds. Doing so allows the egg white to froth properly before cooling & gives the drink a nice foamy consistency. Add ice & shake to cool then strain into a coupe glass.