If your favorite part of Valentine's Day is a conversation heart that says, "Bite Me," try drowning this month's syrupy banter with a bit of (delicious) bitterness.
'Valentine's Day' on Serious Eats
Ever had a terrible Valentine's Day date? We bet that these bartenders have witnessed worse from behind the bar.
What makes a cocktail good for Valentine's Day? To start, it should be the sort of thing your loved one loves, whether that means a gin drink or a bourbon drink, a fruity drink or a fizzy drink. Our favorite Valentine's Day cocktails are flavorful and colorful, whether that means delicately pink or boldly red, fresh and light or strong and boozy. Some have a floral side, just in case you forgot to order that pretty bouquet.
Sure, you can say 'I love you' with roses, but around these parts, we think it's better to say it with rosé...or a great cocktail, wine, or beer-related gift. Here are a few ideas.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to sip some delicious spirits with equally delicious chocolates. Today, I'll offer a few tips to help you make it work.
Here are 10 cocktail recipes to get you inspired this Valentine's Day, whether you're looking for a deliciously bitter beverage for a big group get-together or an elegant sparkling drink for sipping with one special someone.
We asked 13 top sommeliers from around the country for their Valentine's Day wine advice: what to order, how to choose a wine that will go with a romantic meal, from oyster start to chocolatey finish. Check out the slideshow for their advice, from favorite Champagnes to budget recommendations.
What better way to woo your sweetest than a multi-course meal paired with beer? Skip the restaurant prix fixe scams and get cozy at home, cooking an aphrodiasical dinner together and sipping some delicious beer parings alongside each dish.
For once and for all, let me say it loud and clear: dry red wine and chocolate do not go together. Why would someone lie to you and try to convince you that this is something you should enjoy? Why would the powers that be—the red-wine pushers and the chocolate coercers—set you up for such flavor failure, particularly around Valentine's Day when presumably you want to impress the object of your affections? I don't know. But I'm here to help.
Want to wow your Valentine this year? Present them with a little lovin' first thing in the morning by learning how to pour a heart into their morning cup. Check out the slideshow for step-by-step instructions on crafting this basic latte art.
As a general rule, when pairing beer with chocolates, you want to go rich and go malty. The toast, roast, caramel, and chocolate flavors of malt-forward beers are a perfect match for the decadent creaminess of truffles or the bitter bite of high-cocoa chocolate. Tart fruit lambics are also fun partners for chocolate treats: they beautiful balance the richness of creamy ganache fillings. But don't ignore the bitter brews completely: roasty beers can work the way the coffee does with sweets, and in combination with the right dessert, a balanced IPA can be just the thing to make your tastebuds swoon.
Though it's meant for dessert, this drink isn't too sweet; bittersweet chocolate is balanced with red wine and tart raspberry puree. Smoke-infused cream adds a pleasant marshmallow-like flavor (and a bit of theatrical flourish) but the Despacho is still tasty without it.
"Do you want to get a coffee sometime?" It's the classic first-date proposal: Even baristas are susceptible to it. (My first-ever date was at a coffee shop—the one I worked at, as a matter of fact. Awkward!) This V-Day, let's talk about what makes that first caffeinated romantic encounter so perfect.
Urban myth has it that chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon are wonderful together. Whoever started that one should be slapped. Sweet chocolate causes trouble with dry Cabernet. The only road-tested formula to make chocolate and red wine work is to "add sugar" along with those wine tannins.
Many Valentine's Day drink suggestions include the use of chocolate-flavored spirits or liqueurs, and this is where things usually go off track (assuming they were ever on the right track to begin with). Chocolate is a beautiful flavor when properly delivered, but most often when the flavor appears in the cocktail realm, it's the kind of chocolate with a chemically saccharine, tooth-achingly sweetness. Let's talk about ways to use chocolate liqueurs without turning your drink into an alcopop.
Champagne—real Champagne—has unequaled power. Perhaps it's the finesse, the blush of bubbles that carry mineral notes like a stream burbling over stones. The hints of lemon peel and brioche, tea and quince. It's the festive pop, too, that tells us we're celebrating. But this love potion really works because we associate it with happy moments.
Even if you're not a big fan of bubbly, you can still raise a glass on Valentine's Day. These two cocktails will do the trick, whether you're snuggling with your sweetheart or gathering a group of friends for dinner, getting engaged or smashing a giant heart-shaped pinata with a baseball bat, Jennifer Garner-style.
To pick the wine that will complement your beef, consider the cut and level of doneness of the steak. If you prefer a leaner steak like filet mignon or some cuts of sirloin, look for a wine with a bit less tannin, because the steak will not have enough fat to soften it. However, a cut with more fat, like ribeye, New York strip, or skirt steak can handle a more brawny wine.
Chocolate and beer? Together? It may sound like a conspiracy on the part of beer-loving-guys to take back Valentine's Day, but take it from this former skeptic: Chocolate and beer can be an incredible pairing.
You're already trying to figure out what you're going to give your sweetie for Valentine's Day. Most of us reach for Champagne or some other sparkling wine, and that's a wonderful, traditional choice. But if it's romance you're looking for, why not consider a bottle of dessert wine instead?