Ah, Valentine’s Day. Last year, in addition to a very fine drink, I presented you with the history of the real St. Valentinus, right down to his decidedly unromantic demise from a combination beating-beheading at the hands of a Roman mob. This time around, I will avoid too much discussion of violent and untimely death. Instead, I will attempt to accentuate the positive before sharing what I think is a pitch-perfect Valentine’s Day tipple.
I don’t often write about love and relationships, because I believe discussing feelings is best done out of public view—if at all. Yet in private, I am effusive in declarations of love and affection for my wife. She, however, is much less sentimental than I am. She prefers to show love through her actions, such as not making me sleep outside no matter how richly I deserve it.
I’m one of those people who like Valentine’s Day. Yet when it comes to celebrating it, I have noticed a few competing schools of thought:
- Singletons, who disdain the holiday and busy themselves with something else;
- Feminists, who seem to view it as an occasion to bleat about their genitals and frighten people;
- Marrieds, who have basically given up on it; and finally
- Children, who are mostly interested in candy—not l’amour.
There isn’t much that I can do about the singletons, and the less said about the feminists the better. The children are quite content, and I have no wish to lose a finger by standing in the way of their M&Ms.
But the marrieds…now those I can address (briefly—I know you want the booze). Speaking from my own experience, most people should quickly realize that grand romantic gestures are unsustainable over the long term. After a few years, the brain chemistry just isn’t the same. Add kids to the mix, and suddenly you lack the opportunity for romance even if you possess the inclination.
That’s no reason to just give up on Valentine’s Day. You’ve made a conscious decision to love one another, and occasional recognition of that fact is essential. Mrs. Dewing and I cook ourselves a fancy dinner, but you needn’t be that extravagant. A heartfelt note, a few moments sharing a hug, or simply being present when the other person is speaking (smartphones away!) will go miles. Perhaps you could slip the children a little something to help carve out a bit of privacy for yourselves? I don’t know. They pay me to give advice on drinks, not child endangerment.
Which reminds me: another great way to show your love for someone? This Weekend’s Cocktail.
The Cherub’s Cup
Whether preparing a romantic dinner for two, drinking by yourself while horribly alone, or making God only knows what sort of freakish arrangements, you will require a beverage in keeping with the occasion. Thus, I present The Cherub’s Cup.
Yes, this pinkish concoction is about as girly as it gets. Gentlemen, you’ll have to trust me when I tell you that with some care in the preparation this will be very well-received. It does require that you invest in some St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur I’ve included in Weekend Cocktails before. It’s sweet, floral, and comes in a very distinctive bottle. You can’t miss it.
Here’s the whole list:
- 1 part St. Germain
- 2 parts vodka or gin (I enjoyed it with Hendricks)
- 3/4 part fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 part simple syrup
- 1 part muddled strawberry
- Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
- Strawberry; sprig of mint for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, add a small chopped strawberry and muddle. Fill the shaker with ice.
Add all the liquid ingredients with the exception of the sparkling wine. Here, a point about the liquor: you may use dry gin or vodka, and thus have either some bite or no bite at all. However, I’d err on the side of gin as it will balance out the sweetness and tart flavors of the rest. Hendricks Gin, with its cucumber and rose botanicals, is smoother and actually works very well for this drink.
Shake it for at least 10-15 seconds, until well-chilled.
You have options on glassware: you may use either a rocks glass, cocktail glass, or Collins. I chose a tumbler when I sampled it. The decision is up to you, but put some effort into the presentation so it fits with whatever else you have prepared. Love does not abide half-measures.
Strain into the ice-filled glass of your choice. Top with a generous splash of the Brut. This contributes to the overall balanced flavor of sweet strawberry, tart lemon, and biting gin, while also providing some effervescence to make it more interesting.
Garnish with a cut strawberry or a sprig of mint (or both) and serve it up. Ooh la la.