I’d like to make it clear that my dislike of Valentine’s Day does not stem from my single status. Absolutely not. No way….Well ok, maybe just a tiny bit. However, I do find the massive volume of roseate-hued trash in the shops genuinely offensive. I’ve only just recovered from Christmas and here I am, plunged into another vortex of consumerism.
To make matters worse, my inbox is stuffed to bursting with bar and restaurant press releases of V-Day themed drinks and menus. I warn you, if I see one more elderflower, passion fruit or rose based champagne cocktail suggestion, I’ll hurl something. Possibly the contents of my stomach.
So as an antidote to all this schmaltz, I’ve come up with a list of drinks of a more astringent character. Just the ticket for the independent and strong-minded single person to brace themselves with next monday.
(For the less contentedly single I offer the following solution. My flatmate gave me this as a suggested cocktail name: ‘F*ck you all, I hope you die while holding hands’. The recipe for this is: 1 bottle of blended scotch. Unscrew cap. Drink until you pass out. )
75 ml bourbon (I used Four Roses Small Batch)
2 each of lime and lemon wedges
1-2 tsp sugar to taste
2 dashes lemon bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Muddle lime and lemon wedges with sugar in a shaker. Add bourbon, bitters, ice and shake. Pour into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Squeeze grapefruit twist over glass and add to drink.
1 Vermouth (50:50 dry:sweet)
2 Dry Sherry
Dash lemon bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice, strain contents into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel over drink, then rub the edge of glass and drop in drink.
Valentine’s Day Massacre
Referencing Italy, bootleggers and , umm, blood, this is a fresh tasting twist on a Negroni – the Rhubarb bitters work really well but feel free to omit if they’re hard to track down.
1 blood orange juice
Few dashes of Rhubarb bitters
Build the first three ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir gently, add a few dashes bitters and garnish with an orange twist.
NB: The ice ball in the picture is made with filtered, double-boiled, double frozen bottled water. As you see it’s still opaque – I’m beginning to think life’s too short for clear ice…
1.5 Old Tom Gin
1.5 Lavender cordial
1 Lemon juice
Dash or two of orange bitters
Shake the first four ingredients once with ice and pour into a cocktail glass. Add a few dashes bitters and a twist of orange.
Tip: To make lavender cordial add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a pan with a generous handful of dried lavender heads. Simmer for about 15 minutes until syrup has reduced slightly. Remove from heat and cool before using. I had many other ingredients lined up for this drink but the cordial was so lovely I ended up just letting its floral/menthol flavours shine through. It’s gorgeous just served with champagne.
NB: I don’t have the requisite cream whipper but for those who do, I can’t help thinking a Creme de Violette Foam would finish this drink beautifully (omitting the egg white in the shaker). I’d rename it a Blue Rinse.
I thought this was a great name for a drink but by this point was a bit stumped as to what it should consist. So I put it up to Twitter and this is what they came up with: