Valentine’s day is approaching! Actually, it is practically here when you consider how quickly days go by. It is time to plan your evening with your special one. You may decide to go to that amazing place you’ve always talked about, or avoid the craziness and the crowds by staying at home.
Preparing the most romantic evening at home can be a little overwhelming. Here are some very basic tips: Send your valentine away for the day and get her a little Spa treatment. If you have kids, get rid of them! Babysitter, grandparents, neighbors, anything goes. Make sure the house is clean, plan a meal (include dessert), throw rose petals throughout the house without overdoing it, take a shower, play appropriate music like soft jazz or heavy metal if that’s your thing, light up some candles, turn your phones off and leave Facebook alone for the evening! Anything else is just icing on the cake… like a fancy cocktail :-) which conveniently brings us to this cocktail recipe. I call it: “Champagne Valentine.”
WHAT YOU NEED
• Sugar cubes – You can do cubes, or you can also take it a step further and use heart shaped sugar. Trust me, it’s all about the little details.
• Fernet Branca bitters – Fernet Branca was invented in Milan in 1845 as a stomach medicine. Since then, the Fratelli Branca distillerie produces the drink according to a secret family recipe with 27 herbs from five continents. You may also use other brands like Angostura or Campari if you like strong overtone of grapefruit, while Fernet remains a lot “herbier”.
• Cointreau (optional) – You don’t have to add Cointreau, but if you already have it in your liquor collection, it will complement this cocktail with a sweet little taste of orange flavor.
• Brandy – No need for a top-shelf Brandy or Cognac. Because you are mixing it with so many other things, V.S. is what you need. V.S. – which means “Very Special” – is the least aged Cognac you can buy, and when you are mixing, it is the ONLY Cognac you should buy. For more information on Cognac, go to cognac.com.
• Dry sparkling wine – This isn’t wine tasting, but you’re making a fine cocktail in which the Champagne contributes the majority of the flavor. Don’t spend a fortune but don’t cheap out. It is Valentine’s day after all ;) For this cocktail, a price tag of $20-$25 will do the trick.
• Maraschino cherry – The maraschino preserved cherry makes a nice addition to the drink.
• Orange – We will slice up the orange and use it to garnish the rim of the glass.
• Champagne flutes – because clear plastic cups won’t cut it.
Place one sugar cube to the bottom of your Champagne flute. Use a few dashes of Fernet Branca bitters to saturate the sugar cube. In addition to bitters, you may also add 1/4 ounce of orange liquor like Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Grand Marnier is made from a base of Cognac but it is also a lot sweeter than its rival. My favorite is Cointreau, because of its dry and subtle flavor. Once that’s done, add 1 ounce of brandy. Fill the flute with Champagne and watch the sugar cube dissolve in a fountain of bubbles. Throw in the Maraschino cherry and garnish the rim of the glass with the orange slice.
You are done my friend, but your evening is only getting started. Enjoy your cocktail and have a wonderful romantic evening with your valentine.
If everything goes well, your valentine will still be around in the morning. Continue to wow her with your amazing talents and hosting expertise. Time for brunch! Keep the romance flowing with another cocktail, the ineluctable Mimosa :)