A Chemical Romance

Valentine's cocktails to set the mood

Valentine's cocktails to set the mood

More often than not, Valentine’s Day seems focused around the female in the relationship, with roses, lingerie, chocolates, and perfume. While, as a woman, I certainly don’t mind this angle, the men in our lives deserve a little recognition as well.

So while writing this piece about sensuous cocktail offerings for the upcoming holiday, I decided to include a drink for each gender (although these libations are certainly not gender biased). Whether it's the prelude to a romantic rendezvous, the main course, or a night cap, a liquid love potion can amplify romance in the air. Here are a few choice chemical aphrodisiacs for Valentine’s Day:

At Branch Water Tavern, Evan Turner has created some tantalizing elixirs. For a small dose of passion try In the Pink, a sultry cocktail made with pomegranate (a symbol of fertility), grapefruit juice and white rum. This drink is so light that I almost felt compelled to gulp rather than sip it, but I managed to pace myself for appearance’s sake. A few of these and your date may suddenly seem irresistible.

For the guys, I recommend the Foggy Buddha, a mix of bourbon, lime and ginger beer. Note: Branch Water uses a mainstream ginger beer;  a homemade recipe is in the works.

The cocktail list at The Rockwood Room in extensive. With a little advice from my server, I discovered a couple of winners. The French Pear Tree is a seductive mix of champagne, elderflower liqueur and Grey Goose La Poire (pear flavored vodka). The rim is sugar coated; lime juice complements the fruit and balances out the sweetness.

For the gentleman, try the masculine Royal St. Manhattan. This merger of whiskey, cognac, vermouth, benedictine and bitters was a little too much for me. But upon quizzing some of the male patrons, I learned it is a favorite. It's perfect for Valentine’s Day because the color is an exuberant red. For a more sedate alternative, the Elderflower Champagne Martini is a less sweet version of the popular Kir Royale.

Looking for something playful? Indulge in a Flirtini at Bailey’s American Grille in Seabrook. It blends various fruit juices, raspberry vodka, champagne and cointreau. Whether you take yours shaken or stirred, martini lovers will appreciate the Dirty Blue, a classic vodka martini garnished with blue cheese stuffed olives. I just like the name.

Planning a romantic dinner at home? No problem. You can still create a Flirtini:

2 oz. Absolute Raspberry Vodka
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Champagne
Splash of Pineapple Juice
Splash of Cranberry Juice

Combine all ingredients with ice into a martini shaker and shake for 10-15 seconds. Pour into a frozen martini glass. Garnish with one Maraschino Cherry without the stem. Tip: Marinate the Maraschino Cherry in vodka overnight for an added kick.

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For a small dose of passion, try the sultry cocktail, In the Pink, at Branch Water Tavern. Photo by Kimberly Park
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Derek Black, general manager and beverage director at The Rockwood Room, prepares a Royal St. Manhattan cocktail. Photo by Kimberly Park
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The result: A perfectly seductive drink Photo by Kimberly Park
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And for the guys, your favorite suds from Branch Water Tavern Photo by Kimberly Park