What says "romance" to you, this Valentine's Day? It might be flowers or chocolates, tried and true. It might be a lavish meal out at one of your city's best restaurants. Or it might be a gorgeous round of drinks at an incredible cocktail bar. All around the country, mixologists have crafted beautiful cocktails just for the holiday -- whether in vivid hues of red and pink, topped with celebratory bubbles, or just made with love.
At Saxon + Parole, the beloved restaurant on New York's Bowery, the "Bottled Rose Bamboo for 2" is like a love potion in a glass, a take on the low-proof classic made with Tio Pepe fino sherry, Lillet Rose, Peychaud's, and grapefruit bitters. In San Francisco, the Italian restaurant Tratto offers something more warming in the "Heart Beet": Four Roses Bourbon, Bruto Americano, Yellow Chartreuse, a blood orange-beet cordial, and lemon. Richly colored and meant to savor.
The stunning "Love Hurts" at Habitat at 1 Hotel South Beach, pictured above, is a little sweet and a little spicy (just like the best romances, perhaps?): pineapple- and jalapeño-infused mezcal, Mandarine Napoleon, Ancho Reyes Verde, and lime, over a hibiscus ice cube that imparts the beautiful, vivid color. "The French Kiss," from the ADDiKT at W Miami, is all about the shades of pink: strawberries, lemon, rosé tequila and rosé Champagne, all in one gorgeous drink... topped off with a rose petal, of course.
Down in Los Angeles at Playa Provisions, owned and operated by “Top Chef” Winner Brooke Williamson and husband Nick Roberts, is serving the "Melt Your Heart," with Hendrick’s gin, elderflower, lemon, and a grapefruit-infused Campari heart, adding an edge of bitterness to a sweet, festive drink. And it's hard to get more showstopping than the "Thus With a Kiss I Die," from Ever Bar, also in Los Angeles: Grey Goose vodka, chareau aloe liqueur, yellow chartreuse and fresh lemon juice. It's served with a small vile of butterfly pea water “poison”; add it to the drink, and the color changes from a pale yellow to a bright purple. Why not get a little dramatic?
[Image: Habitat at 1 Hotel South Beach]