Treat your date like royalty—and introduce him or her to new flavors—with this frothy pink cocktail from Theo Lieberman of Lantern's Keep and Milk & Honey in New York. It boasts a hefty dose of Angostura bitters, plus malty genever and fresh lemon and pineapple.
She likes bourbon. He likes elderflower liqueur. Everyone's happy with this effervescent highball from Freemans restaurant in NYC, balanced with fresh lemon and a long pour of sparkling wine.
This one's a bit of a tropical escape, made with rich mango and demerara syrup. It's best made with Bombay East gin, which is spiced with lemongrass and pepper, but it'll be tasty with whatever gin you have on hand.
Grapefruit and Ginger Sparkler
Take advantage of citrus season by squeezing some fresh grapefruit for this bubbly cocktail, sweetened with ginger liqueur.
Etre en Verve
Whether or not the French name of this cocktail puts you in the mood, the concoction itself, from Ardesia in New York, is rather seductive. It's a simple mix of Lillet Blanc with grapefruit bitters and sparkling wine: refreshing, light, and easy to drink plenty of. You might want to slow down, though...
Tell her she's the apple of your eye with this classy cider cocktail from Gramercy Tavern in New York. A little thyme, a little bourbon, and a little apple brandy go a long way toward making a delicious tipple; serve it with bacon-wrapped dates if you're going to get really indulgent.
Make the cinnamon syrup in advance and this becomes a super-easy, low-stress drink to start your Valentine's evening right. Cranberries and lime add tartness to balance the richness of dark rum.
The Paper Plane
A bartender once told me that putting Amaro Nonino in a cocktail is really cheating: the stuff automatically makes any drink it's in delicious. Make that advantage work in your favor with this sophisticated and rosy-hued cocktail from Sam Ross, which brings together Nonino with bourbon, Aperol, and fresh lemon.
Lavender French 75
Don't just give flowers. Sip flowers! This delicately lavender-flavored cocktail is a deliciously fresh spin on the classic French 75. Use decent bubbly, but don't feel like you have to splurge on fancy Champagne to make this drink.
This drink's color-coordinated for your Valentine's Day celebration, and delicious to boot. Bitter Campari and grapefruit soda are brightened with lime and spiked with good rum for a full-bodied cocktail that's tart and fruity but never too sweet.