Dreaded by some, adored by many, today is Valentine’s Day.
Whether you have someone to snuggle close to or are flying solo this year, there’s not a better day to shake up a cocktail or two. We did just that in celebration of the holiday, focusing on three romantic drinks that will transport you to another time and place.
Our first two drinks are classics that make the perfect Valentine’s Day couple—the Jack Rose and the Mamie Taylor.
The Jack Rose cocktail was prominent throughout the 1920s and was featured as one of six cocktails in David Embury’s essential bar guide The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. The drink is easily sippable, but the potent kick of Applejack guarantees that you won’t want to have too many.
For the Jack Rose, mix 3/4 oz. of lemon juice with 3/4 oz. of grenadine, following by 2 oz. of Applejack. Shake and strain into a coupe.
If you don’t have prepared grenadine on hand, you can easily make your own—it will taste better anyway. Stir 1 c. of sugar with 1 c. of pomegranate juice in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Once cooled, the grenadine will keep in the fridge for a week. It’s tasty in all sorts of other drinks and even can be used in baking.
While you sip it, you might feel as if you’ve slipped into Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, sitting in that same Parisian hotel bar, waiting for your lover to meet you.
Continuing along in the same era, we made a Mamie Taylor, a strong blend of whisky, lime and ginger ale (or beer), named for an opera singer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The drink was immensely popular around that time, but fell out of favor during the mid-20th century.
The Mamie Taylor is an easy drink to make, so it’s no trouble to mix up a few while still working on your romantic dinner. Put 2 oz. of Canadian Club Classic 12 and 1 oz. of lime juice in a chilled Collins glass and top with ginger ale.
Name notwithstanding, this drink is actually the least feminine of our cocktails here, with the whiskey and ginger ale providing the punch that only the rarest of girls can deliver without breaking a sweat.
Our last drink is undoubtedly the most romantic of the three—the Nouvelle Vague.
Valentine’s Day always seems to bring out the Francophile in people. We came up with this drink in honor of the sweet and simple romance exuded by Anna Karina, Jean Seberg, Chantal Goya and other girls of the French New Wave. We imagine this to be the perfect drink to be sipped prior to a run through the Louvre with your partner.
In a chilled champagne flute, muddle the mint with a splash of rose water, add a few blackberries, and an ounce of Creme Yvette. Top with champagne and garnish with fresh mint. (For a more budget-friendly option, this drink can also be made with prosecco.)
The combination of a light champagne with the dark and spicy Creme Yvette creates a drink with both a lovely color and a semi-sweet flavor. The mint and rose water give off an aroma like that of a fresh bouquet of flowers, that is just barely noticeable on the palate.
No matter which of these three you choose to imbibe, you and your partner won’t be disappointed. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!
– Ryan and Laura