Where to Drink on Valentine's Day

Romantic watering holes, plus a cocktail to make at home
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As the year’s most romantic holiday is only a few days away, you may already have booked your sweet spot where you’ll spend the evening, or have already decided on the perfect drink to serve at home. However, if you’re like me, you are a little behind. If so, I’m here to help, with the below list of Valentine’s specials (better make reservations quick!), and a special drink you might want to serve at home.

Stoneburner and Bastille Café & Bar, Ballard
Get bubbly at these Ballard spots, with Champagne flights arranged by wine director James Lechner and sommeliers Kristen Young and Dawn Smith (Bastille and Stoneburner respectively). The sparkling specialties come for $9 a taste, $18 a glass, and $25 for a flight of three 2.5 ounces – these are available at both restaurants. If you want to step up to cocktails, bar manager Erik Carlson has created two Valentine’s cocktails at each restaurant:  The Beauty (which is bubbly) and The Beast (which is Old Fashioned-y) at Stoneburner and the Bright & Bubbly vs. the Bold & Bitter at Bastille.

Bar Cotto, Capitol Hill
Do a double celebration Italian-style at Bar Cotto, as February 14 is also the restaurant’s second birthday. It’ll have food specials and snazzy desserts in honor of the duel evening, but the real effervescent hit is the Italian frizzante wine Lambrusco, which it’ll be serving at the happy hour price ($6 a glass) all night.

Boka, Downtown
Boka is bringing sexy back for a second Valentine’s Day, as its aphrodisiac Boka No. 9 cocktail is again on the menu. It contains a tincture of herbs, spices, roots, leaves and berries, created by an in-house naturopath, mixed with Big Gin, Zirbenz Stone Pine liqueur, Carpano Antica vermouth, and a house sour mix. Boka also has a range of food specials (though really, the cocktail is more important to any romantic night, right?).

Volunteer Park Conservatory, Capitol Hill
The Friends of the Conservatory are putting on a starry-eyed wine and cocktail tasting for the heart-filled day, with three times to stop by and taste a few delicious imbibables: 5, 6, and 7 p.m. Wander the lovely houses of the conservatory while sipping cocktails made with products from the Hardware Distillery in Hoodsport (they make gins, aquavit, whiskey, and their special Bee Knee’s) and wine from Grand Vin Win Merchants. Also, flamenco band Another Ghost will be playing music to dance and cuddle to.

Shanik, South Lake Union
This Indian restaurant from Vancouver restaurateurs Meeru Dhalwala and her husband and chef Vikram Vij are serving up a special romantic mix that matches perfectly with their array of well-spiced and flavored fare. The cocktail features delicious Indian-made Amrut dark rum, pineapple, Italian-aperitivo Cappelletti, Mangalore Indian spiced liqueur, and lime juice.

Volterra, Ballard and Kirkland
This Italian haven has two special drinks for you and your sweetie (you can each get one and share – though it might be safer to both try each) all weekend long. First is the Love Me cocktail, with fresh clementine, local Glass Gridiron vodka, pomegranate, lemon, Italian sparkling wine Prosecco, and mint. Plus, it’s garnished with the legendary Italian Baci chocolate “kiss.” Next up is the Love Me Not – a straight shot to the heart of whiskey with a skull and cross-bones trinket ring garnish.

The Ti Penso Sempre Cocktail to Serve at Home
If you’re staying in for Valentine’s Day, and want to serve a very special cocktail for that special someone, this mix from Dark Spirits isn’t a bad idea. It’s a hint sweet, but has a swell flavor, and the name means “I think of you always.” The below recipe serves 2.

Ice cubes

3 ounce brandy

2 ounces Aperol

1 ounce simple syrup

2 orange slices, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, Aperol, and simple syrup. Shake well.

2. Strain the mix equally into 2 cocktail glasses.