Calling all lovers young and old – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. And while things like flowers, chocolates, jewelry and other mementos of love are nice, nothing is as nice as buying that special someone a delicious cocktail. That’s my opinion, at least! With that in mind, below are five cocktails from local bars that fit that affection bill beautifully, for a variety of reasons. Wanting to keep the adoring glances at home? We have you covered in that situation as well, with one romantic recipe to make yourself at the end of the list.
This is on the menu consistently at the Teacher’s Lounge in Greenwood (8505 Greenwood Ave N), but seems amazingly appropriate for Valentine’s Day, being that it’s named for the day’s favorite snack (chocolate, that is), and the Roman goddess of amour, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. The drink’s mixture of bourbon, sweet vermouth, Kahlua, and both Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters and Angostura bitters is also something you’ll fall in love with, and the bar’s low-lighting is ideal for corner canoodling.
Noble Dark Chocolate
There are two special V-day cocktails at Heartwood Provisions (1103 1st Ave.), but my choice has smoky mezcal, raspberry syrup, sweet vermouth and lemon. Both it and its sibling (called Arabica Espresso Chocolate and with ruby port, espresso liqueur and Amaro Nardini) were crafted specifically by beverage director Amanda Reed to pair with local jcoco chocolate of the same names. Jcoco, if you don’t know, explores “how superior cacao . . . can transcend our expectations.” Hey, love itself is a transcendent experience, too!
Mon Sherry Amor
Here’s a drink combining many things I myself adore: clever naming, Washington distilleries (and Bluewater Distilling, 1205 Craftsman Way, Ste. 109, is one that has a restaurant in the distillery), a shout out to Stevie Wonder and, for many, travel, as you’ll need to head up to Everett to have it. But love is like a journey, often, so all goes together. Merging Bluewater’s own organic vodka, a house cherry liqueur, sherry and chocolate liqueur, you and your darling will find it worth the trip.
If you’re looking for a little bit of a clandestine feel this Valentine’s, tuck into the intimate shadows of the lowly lit Foreign National (300 E Pike St.) on Capitol Hill for this charmer. Mezcal, umeboshi plum, plum wine, shiso, lemon, lime and soda all mingle to give the cocktail a refreshing, fruity taste that’s also a touch out-of-the-ordinary, matching the transportive atmosphere of the bar. Sip, huddle your heads together in a nook, and add a touch of international spy fantasy to the holiday evening if you’d like.
Civility and Unrest
Over at Bellevue’s grooviest lounge, Civility and Unrest (10455 Bellevue Way NE), they’re holding a Valentine’s Day launch party for the Offline Movement, which is a bracelet’d idea for people tired of tiring dating apps. This might, then, fall into the first date (or wanting a first date) category of celebrators, but the drinks, named tongue-in-cheeky about said apps, are swell enough to woo any hearty revelers. Take the Look Up: rum, Ancho Reyes slightly spicy Verde liqueur, lime, basil and simple syrup. That sounds so good I might want to just date it if I was single.
Ti Penso Sempre
Here’s one for all the lovers in the house who want to stay in the house on Valentine’s Day. It’s a teeny bit sweet, but not so much as to crack teeth, and anyway, a helping of sweetness is what the day is all about. The name means, “I think of you always,” which is about as swell a sentiment as one could imagine, and the recipe, from Dark Spirits, is below. This serves two, as you’d hope.
Ti Penso Sempre
3 ounces brandy
2 ounces Aperol
1 ounce simple syrup
2 orange slices for garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the brandy, Aperol (a lightly citrus Italian aperitif, readily available in our modern cocktail world), and simple syrup. Shake well.
2. Strain the mix equally into two cocktail glasses. Garnish each with an orange slice.