Valentine's Day..... Love it or loathe it, this is definitely the year to embrace it and add a bit of excitement to lock-down February. So, whether it's a virtual hang-out with friends and loved ones, movie night, or home-date night, let yourself be inspired by our choice of pink drinks.
I belong to the Craft Gin Club and receive their fabulous boxes most months (I do pause it every now and then!). Our first drink in this post features a recipe from the magazine adapted slightly to be less sweet, as well as January's gin and the small bottle of Bakewell Gin Liqueur which was included in the monthly box.
50ml Pennington's Bakewell Gin Liqueur
60ml Gin - I used Pennington's Lakeland Moon Snowfell Gin from the January box, but any good quality gin would work
A few drops of sugar syrup
6 dashes bitters
Juice from a lemon
2 egg whites
Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake hard for 20 seconds.
Add ice and shake again until the liquid is chilled.
Strain into a rocks or coupe glass to serve.
Lanique is over 200 years old, but has only recently been revived. It’s made from rose petals and has a pretty and delicate colour along with a lovely perfume which manages not to be over-powering. I was a little worried that drinking this would be the liquid equivalent of Turkish Delight, but it managed to steer clear of sweet and cloying. Knowing that it’s created by steam distilling thousands of hand-picked rose petals sourced from the East, made it seem a very luxurious treat indeed. The distilled rose petals create Attar of Rose, a rich oil which is worth more than gold in weight. This oil is then added in a slow multi-part process with carefully selected sugars and a neutral grain spirit to produce the rose liqueur.
I had a little play with the Lanique and created a couple of cocktails, which I thought worked really nicely. Firstly as a Rose Martini. The website suggested 2/3 Lanique to 1/3 Gin, but I reversed that ratio thinking that it would be a little too much of the rose flavour that way around. I certainly enjoyed my version!
I then made a cross between a Negroni and a Venetian Spritz, using an in-season fresh blood orange. If I do say so myself, this was utterly delicious (although quite a strong drink!).
30 ml Gin
15 ml Lanique
15 ml MARTINI bitter. You could substitute Campari or Aperol, if preferred
1/2 Blood orange freshly squeezed
1/2 Lemon freshly squeezed
1 tsp Runny honey
1 splash Sparkling Wine; Champagne, Cremant, Prosecco, Cava - whichever you prefer
Slice Orange To garnish
Put the ice and all the ingredients (apart from the sparkling wine and the slice of orange) into a cocktail shaker.
Shake well, strain into a glass, top up with sparkling wine to taste and stir.
Garnish with the slice of orange. Pink Gin
This was slightly cheating - the bottle is pink, if not the contents! The pink Mermaid gin has more than a hint of strawberry, so paring it with a pink peppercorn tonic seemed the way to go.
50cl Mermaid gin
Pink peppercorn tonic to taste
Garnish - strawberries and pink peppercorns (I froze a couple of strawberries in a gin ice ball mould)
Fill a glass with ice (the more there is, the slower it melts), add the gin, the tonic and garnish.
Rose comes in all sorts of hues and price points. We had a fun time a couple of summers ago pairing these with food. I think though, for romance, strawberries marinated in elderflower liqueur served with a bottle of pink fizz is hard to beat!
The Vilarnau wine delivers strawberries, gooseberries and pears. With a nice dry finish. A really nice bottle of fizz for the price, and one that’s fun to take to parties (remember those?) This one is available from Tesco or Ocado, where it's currently on offer for £9.60.
If beer is more up your street, how about this one from the Gipsy Hill brewery? Urbanist Imperial fruited sour. Fruity and dry, it's refreshing and drinkable which belies it's Imperial strength of 7.2% ABV.
We hope that we've given you some ideas for Valentine's. Being locked-down isn't so bad with a glass of something in hand!
If you are feeling the love for your friends, it's so hard not seeing them at the moment, why not have a look at our friend Mimmie's ideas for Galentines. Galentine's Gifts