Any serious 14 February celebration requires a Valentine's cocktail menu, right? The big brands might have you believe that this 'holiday' is all about pink champagne and roses, but surely you should be putting a little more effort in for your loved one?
May we present a pre- and a post-dinner drink to set hearts racing?
Our first drink originates from Tony Conigliaro's Drink Factory and spent some time on the menu at his 69 Colebrooke Row (London) and Le Coq (Paris) bars. Inspired by the classic red lipsticks of the 1940's femme fatale, this drink is sure to get the evening off on a romantic footing:
Build 15ml rose-infused vodka, 5ml raspberry and violet syrup and a dash of Peychaud’s bitters in a chilled champagne flute. Top with champagne and stir once. Finish with a twist of grapefruit peel (discarded) and a lipstick kiss on the rim of the glass.
Rose vodka (makes 600ml): Combine 500ml vodka, 5ml rose water and 200g caster sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve and bottle. Shelf stable.
Raspberry and violet syrup (makes 700ml): Dissolve 7 microns of violet essence in 2g of 50% vodka, then add to a 700ml bottle of raspberry syrup. Keep refrigerated and use within one week.
Homemade Lipstick: We used a regular lipstick, but the recipe for the homemade garnish (castor oil, jojoba and all) can be found in Tony Conigliaro’s Drinks.
As for after dinner, who could ask for more than a little Hanky Panky? Ada Coleman created this recipe during her spell as head bartender at the American Bar of The Savoy, London. Coleman worked on the recipe for hours and when she eventually deemed it good enough to serve to Victorian actor Sir Charles Hawtrey, he drained his glass and exclaimed "By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!" And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since:
Combine 60ml gin, 30ml sweet vermouth and 7.5ml Fernet Branca in a mixing glass. Add plenty of ice and stir for sixty seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a twist of orange peel.