It's an amazing time for mixologists! Cocktails have been experiencing a kind of renaissance. On the one hand, there a growing demand to return to the classics and repair the time-honored recipes that were bastardized during the cocktail apostasy of past decades. On the other hand, there’s also a push to blaze creative new trails and experiment with exciting new flavors and concoctions. Non-imbibers who are tired of the mainstream soft drinks are starting to clamor for a more nuanced alcohol-free glass. Much like a good cocktail itself, the movement is layered and complex with elements playing both complementary and contrasting roles.
To be clear, this cocktail resurgence does not refer to $5 cocktails during the happy hour of the nearest college bar. I'm talking about the $12-20 / glass cocktail mixed with hand-selected ingredients by tenured artisans who are dedicated to their craft. These quality craft cocktails are meant to be sipped slow, with pleasure and reverence.
This month’s cocktail grows out of that exciting mix of revolution and renaissance. A twist on the classic French 75, it can be made with or without alcohol and is perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebration. The 14-day infused Valentine cocktail is not only a nod to the date of the holiday; it also signifies the extra effort that the best relationships require. The time commitment truly does elevate the final cocktail in way that mixing à la minute cannot achieve.
14-Day Infused Valentine Cocktail
- 750 ml gin (Alpine, Beehive, Hammer Spring, Madam Pattirini, and Ooma are some of our local favorites)
- 18 bing cherries
- petals from 6-8 organic roses (depending on size of blossom)
- 2-3 whole lemons (depending on size), sliced
- sparkling rosé wine, well chilled (Schramsberg Brut Rosé is one of our favorites or, for a real indulgence, try the Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé)
- additional fresh rose petals to garnish
- raw / turbinado sugar cubes (optional - *see below)
- Add the cherries, rose petals, and lemon slices to the gin in a non-reactive vessel (glass or stainless preferred). Set aside in dark room, at room temperature, for 14 days.
- After infusing for the prescribed time period, strain the fruit and flowers from the gin with a fine mesh sieve.
When ready to serve:
- Add 1 part infused gin (typically 1.5 to 2 ounces) to a champagne flute.
- Top with 2 parts of the chilled sparkling wine (typically 3-4 ounces).
- Garnish with fresh rose petals and/or lemon peel.
*Note, we find the infusion of the cherries makes the gin sweet enough that no additional sugar is necessary in the final cocktail. However, this is easily adjust to your unique preferences and tastes. Simply drop a small sugar cube in the glass before the the gin for extra sweetness.
Non-alcoholic 14-Day Infused Valentine Cocktail
- 2 cups cherry syrup**
- juice of 4 limes (save the rinds of the juiced limes)
- ~½ cup of fresh mint leaves
- 1 Tbsp rose water
- 1 Tbsp orange blossom water
- soda water
- additional fresh rose petals
- half and half (optional)
- Mix the syrup, lime juice, rose water, and orange water in a non-reactive vessel (glass or stainless preferred).
- Crush / muddle the mint leaves with the lime rinds and add to the syrup mixture.
- Set aside in your refrigerator to marry and infuse for 14 days.
- After infusing for the prescribed time period, strain the fruit and flowers from the mixture with a fine mesh sieve.
When ready to serve
- Fill soda glasses with ice.
- Add 1 part infused syrup (typically 1.5 to 2 ounces) and top with 3 parts of the soda water (typically 4 to 6 ounces).
- Stir gently. For a cream soda, if desired, top with ~1 ounce of half & half.
- Garnish with fresh rose petals, cherries (bing or luxardo are much preferred to maraschino), and/or lime wheels.
**There are a variety of options for the syrup that will all work well with this recipe. Various Italian style flavored syrups are available commercially and work great. You can even make your own syrup by simmering crushed fruit, fruit juice, and simple syrup, and reducing until desired strength consistency is reached.