Become Your Valentine's Personal At-Home Bartender

Become Your Valentine's Personal Bartender

By Faith Bennett Published January 2021

Valentine’s Day may be looked at as an overly commercialized holiday exploited by card companies, but we’ll be frank - we absolutely LOVE it. We’ve been struck by Cupid’s bow and fallen head over heels for the day of romance. Yes, it may be another excuse for us to buy a new Rosé or try out a pretty pink cocktail, but it’s also an excuse to shower our significant other with the love they deserve. Lucky for us, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year. Which means you could either have brunch for two or celebrate in advance with dinner by candlelight. Whether you opt in for brunch or dinner, cocktails are a MUST. Turn up the heat, ditch your usual bar reservations and become your Valentine’s personal bartender from the comfort of your home. We have the tips, tricks and recipes to dazzle your date.

Tips and Tricks: How to Level Up Your Cocktail Game

Keeping the romance alive in any relationship is important. Whether you’ve recently fallen in love or you’re still gushing over your long-time spouse, small acts really do make a difference, especially if your spouse craves quality time or acts of service. Your cocktail game is similar, taking those extra steps for presentation can truly go a long way. That’s why we’ve broken down these tips and tricks your partner is sure to be impressed by.

Sphere ice for cocktails.

Ice, Ice Baby: Ice is the most effective, yet simple cocktail hack. Ever drink a cocktail with one giant cube of ice or one molded into a sphere? It’s pretty impressive. Not only does it look fancy, but the ice will actually melt slower saving your spirits from getting watered down. Buy an ice mold and freeze them the night prior to have your ice readily available when you’re ready to pour up a delicious cocktail for your bae. If you want to take it another step further, add edible flowers into the molds for a beautiful floral look.

Do the Citrus Twist: Put a finger down if you’ve ever read “lemon twist” on a cocktail recipe, completely ignored it, cut a lemon wedge and called it a day. We have one too many fingers down from the number of times we’ve done it. But it is Valentine’s Day so instead of avoiding this daunting task, whip out your hidden (really, newly learned) talent and do the citrus twist. What you’ll need: fresh citrus fruit (lemons, limes or oranges) and a sharp knife. Our hack: Step 1) Take your fruit and cut a wheel-like slice. Step 2) Make a cut on one side of the peel. Step 3) Cut the pulp out and separate it from the rind. You should have a thin slice of rind left. Step 4) Twist the rind into a curly-q. Note: Twist the rind over the cocktail to express the natural oils of the fruit into the drink.

Making a citrus twist.

Glassware to Share: We’re not glassware snobs, but on February 14th it is time to toss the plastic cups and break out the classy glassware. Similar to our ice hack, what you serve your cocktail in does make a difference in the experience. First ask yourself, what will you be serving? If it’s a fine bourbon, serve it straight to be sipped in a shot glass to enhance the flavors, or in a curved vessel like a Glencairn, to help direct the aromas towards your nose. Making one of our signature cocktails? It truly depends on the cocktail. For martinis, go for a classic martini or coup glass. If the cocktail calls for a rocks glass, select a short glass. When the portions are larger, go for a tall thin glass, like a Collins glass.

Couple drinking wine together.

If you’re following your cocktails with wine, we’ve got you. When enjoying red wine, go with a full-rounded wine glass. Since red wines are typically bolder, a larger bowled glass allows the wine to breath more. If you’re serving white, the opposite applies: go for a smaller opening to hold in the flavors and a stem for holding your glass to avoid warming the wine with the heat from your hand. Are you popping open a bottle of bubbles? Then bust out the flutes.

Home Bar Essentials

You don’t need every bell and whistle found at your nearest high-end bar to create an amazing cocktail for your fling. All you need are a few home bar essentials to help craft the easiest to most complex cocktails. That's why we’ve made a simple 6-tool checklist with a few notes to assist.

  1. Glassware – As we mentioned, it really depends on what you’re serving, but we recommend keeping a nice set of the following: martini, Collins, rocks, white wine and red wine glasses.

  2. Openers – Just like you’re opening line to snag a second date, these are essential for your home bar. You can stock yourself with a generic wine and beer opener or get fancy with something more high-end. Either works, it’s mainly up to your preference and budget.

  3. ShakerShakers should always be a staple in your bar. They can be used to shake, stir and even muddle – it's a three-for-one tool if needed.

  4. Stirrer – Cocktails stirred not shaken? Throw out the kitchen utensils and grab yourself a fancy stirrer to do the job.

  5. Jigger – Sometimes eyeballing can work to craft your nightcap but measuring out your pours to create a cocktail experience for your love is key. Jiggers come in different sizes, but all will help you get any ounce pour correct.

  6. Strainer – Some shakers come with a strainer on the cap, but if you’re not lucky enough to score one, a similar strainer will help do the job. P.S. It also looks like you really know what you’re doing when using one.

Cocktail Recipes to Impress

Now that you have some tips, tricks and home bar essentials under your Valentine’s Day belt, it’s time to get into the good stuff...the cocktail recipes. Choose one or a few to whip up for your special date. Whether you’re treating them to a moonlit boat ride or a makeshift at-home movie experience, these recipes are sure to steal their heart.

Cupid’s Mark

Cupid’s Mark

Fill a glass with ice and add bourbon, juices and syrup. Top with champagne and garish with a lemon peel and cranberries.

Roku Blossom

Roku Blossom


*Fresh Lemon Sour:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

For the fresh lemon sour: Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Once dissolved, remove from heat and let it cool completely.

Add lemon and lime juice to the mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into a sealed container and store refrigerated.

For the cocktail: Add gin, triple sec, lemon sour and grenadine into a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled glass or a glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel. Serves 4.

Tito's Mon Cheri

Tito's Mon Cheri

Add all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist and tarragon sprig.

Hey Honey

Hey Honey


*Honey Syrup:

  • ½ cup honey

  • ½ cup water

For the honey syrup: Add ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until honey is dissolved. Allow to cool, then transfer into an airtight container until ready to use. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

For the cocktail: Combine all ingredients in a glass. Stir well and serve.

Hornitos Blushing Margarita

Hornitos Blushing Margarita

Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into a tall glass with ice.

Baileys Strawberry Sundae

Baileys Strawberry Sundae

Pour Baileys Strawberry & Cream Liqueur over vanilla ice cream. Top with fresh strawberries.

Find for more recipes, date and gifting ideas for your love on our Valentines’ Day Guide here.

Pricing, selection and vintages may vary by location.

Interested in learning more? Visit our ABC Blog page.