It's an amazing time for mixologists! The renaissance of the cocktail is in full force. The movement is replete with exciting flavors and experiences. There's a demand to return to the classics of a simpler time, while simultaneously blazing new and creative trails. There's a push to experiment and invent entirely new concoctions. There's a drive to simply repair the time-honored recipes that were bastardized during the cocktail apostasy of past decades. Non-imbibers who are tired of the mainstream soft drinks 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.
For special occasions, I love to plan and prepare a special cocktail in advance. This twist on a classic can be made with or without alcohol and is perfect for a romantic celebration on Valentine's Day. The 14 day infusion is not only a nod to the date of the holiday. It's also nod to the extra effort that the best relationships require. The time commitment truly does elevate the final cocktail in way that mixing a la minute cannot achieve. To love!
Valentine 75 Cocktail
750 ml Gin (Alpine, Beehive, Hammer Spring, Madam Pattirini, and Ooma are some of our local favorites)
-18 Bing cherries
-petals from organic 6-8 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)
14 Day Infusion
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.
Mix and Serve
Add 1 part infused gin (typically 1.5 to 2 ounces) to a champagne flute and 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 Valentine 75Ingredients:-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 & half (optional)
14 Day Infusion
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.Mix and ServeFill 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.