Though many bars and restaurants are closed or only offering takeout, local bartenders still want to share Valentine’s Day with customers.
A handful of creative mixologists shared some unique cocktails to enjoy at home this year. Each drink provides a unique taste of love and is sure to wow your date.
Gin and juice
For those looking for a drink that is simple but sophisticated, Jodi Patton shares her signature drink, created for Valentine’s Day. Patton bartends and serves at Bridgewater Bistro in Astoria. She started her career in Oregon’s wine country. She gained experience at Erath and Durant vineyards and by managing a wine bar in downtown Portland.
“When I moved over to Astoria I eventually started working at Bridgewater because their wine program was so good,” she said. “It just so happened that apparently, I know how to make drinks.”
Her recommended drink is “Valentine’s Day in a glass.”
“I wanted something that was going to be red and pink — but also, it’s still cool weather, so pomegranate works perfectly for that,” Patton said.
Jodi’s Cupid Arrow
For this juicy cocktail, Patton recommends using a high-quality concentrated pomegranate juice which provides the citrus notes. Citrus is key to balancing the flavor of alcohol when making cocktails, she said.
- 1 oz. Painted Lady gin
- 2 oz. pomegranate juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- Prosecco or sparkling wine
- Pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Orange peel
To serve, shake the gin, pomegranate juice and simple syrup with ice and strain it into a champagne glass. Fill the rest of the glass with Prosecco or another sparkling wine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and a twist of orange peel.
Florals and fruit
If you are interested in getting creative with your cocktails, bartender Emily O’Connor has the date night duo for you. O’Connor has been bartending for five years. She works at the Pickled Fish in Long Beach, Washington. O’Connor has been exercising her bartending skills at home more often during the coronavirus pandemic.
A natural creative, O’Connor got a bachelor’s degree in music, and has roots in theater and performing — originally, the service industry was a way to support her passions. Now, she has a passion for bartending.
“I kind of look at the bar as my new stage,” O’Connor said.
Her two recommended Valentine’s Day drinks are spins on classic cocktails.
Rosebud Lemon Drop
O’Connor created this drink as a fun twist on a lemon drop, with a Valentine’s Day tradition mixed in — roses. There are two ways to infuse the rose flavor: in the alcohol or in the simple syrup. The important ingredient is dried rose, which she recommends picking up at the Astoria Co+op.
For a more rose-forward flavor, steep the dried rose into the vodka for 24 hours. For a lighter touch, make homemade simple syrup by taking equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan, letting the sugar dissolve over medium heat and adding the dried rose. Next, simmer for 5 to 7 minutes and strain the syrup. Let the syrup cool for at least 30 minutes.
- 2 oz. vodka
- ¾ oz. simple syrup
- ¾ oz. lemon juice
- ½ oz. orange liqueur
- Dried rose
To serve, use some dried rose and blend it with sugar — use a clean coffee grinder or a food processor. Wet the edges of a martini glass and roll it in the rose sugar. Enjoy your Rosebud Lemon Drop, shaken or stirred.
Cherry of my Heart
This drink sweetens up an old fashioned with fruit, warmth and spice. O’Connor recommends Eagle Rare bourbon or rye whiskey to balance out the sweetness with a bite. This cocktail also calls for simple syrup — use brown sugar and cinnamon.
- 2 oz. bourbon or whiskey
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- ¾ oz. Cherry Heering
- 4 dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
- Orange slice
- Spiced cherry
Serve with ice in a lowball glass for a polished look, with the orange slice on the rim and the spiced cherry topping it off.
Flirty and fun
For a unique take on a Valentine’s Day cocktail, Rich Ewing, award-winning bartender and owner of Inferno Lounge in Astoria, shared a decades-old invention of his — “bartender kisses.”
Ewing has served the treat around Valentine’s Day to customers.
“It was my idea, and I worked with a female bartender at the time — while we were working, she would make the freebies for the guys. I would do them for the girls,” he said. “It was just our way to butter up the crowd and get better tips.”
This treat doesn’t come in a glass — it is made with a strawberry. Ewing suggests using bite-sized strawberries and cutting out the center, sticking the knife at the top and rolling the fruit so that it creates a deep well. Fill the fruit with a drink of your choice — Baileys and Tuaca work well, but his favorite is Grand Marnier, an orange liqueur. Top it off with a cap of whipped cream.
- Baileys Irish Cream
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate sauce
Ewing explains how to make the drink in a tutorial at fb.watch/3fbNKgn879/.