This Valentines Day we were asked by Liquor.com to write a tid bit on romantic cocktails. Heres what came out when The Bar Hops Bar Catering team put their noses to the grind stone:
On romantic cocktails or culinary arts in general I tend be somewhat nostalgic, reading and rereading endearing quotes to boost my morale while I sit at home and sip on some heavy aged spirit by my lonesome. One of my favorite being from Charles Bukowski:
“Find what you love, and let it kill you.”
Love seemingly can break you in two as well as have the power to build you back from the grave. Hence the essence of a romantic cocktail should be rooted in that love. Raw passion can be like, raw ingredients in a way I suppose. With the right mixture you can create a devastatingly great cocktail, or relationship.
When I create a cocktail for a client or an event such as a wedding or engagement, I tend to ask more questions and pry a little deeper than I normally would. Digging into their personal lives and preferences for a flavor or an idea that may be sentimental for both of them. Typically I also try to match flavors that have an aphrodisiac quality to them. Think oysters, figs and dates, honey, strawberries, cinnamon, vanilla, wine, ginger; these could all match to a flavor profile on your cocktail drawing board.
In fact our most popular cocktails for weddings and engagements tend to be a Champagne base of which we will match with fresh fruits, and foreign yet distinguishable herbs and scents. This I believe to be mainly the setting, while bubbles are quite sexy at any time, the cocktails made with the fizz are typically more aperitif in style, with the lower alcohol content. Your guests can imbibe throughout the length of the event without your sister getting sick and your new brother in law inebriatedly telling that one story to everyone that maybe he shouldn’t have. On the opposite end of the coin, a low candle light dinner, I might treat with something heavier in flavor and ABV. The end result might also be enhance by choosing a “shared” cocktail, or one made from a split of a fine product. As you share your libation, so share your life.
One final tip for making a lasting memory: have a story! Your concoction doesn’t have to be over the top with esoteric spirits, and all locally sourced ingredients, but the story, that’s the key. I wouldn’t suggest an overly popular, everyday tipple, but where it came from, why its relevant, and what it means to you are all a conversation piece and show that you took time and effort out of your day to make something unique. Not unlike the story of the cocktail below is one of long lost love of agave and subsequently a certain dark hair Spanish woman, but you’ll have to ask me that one later.
I left my heart in Jalisco (makes 2 cocktails)
6 oz Aztec Drinking Chocolate (below)
1.25 oz Hussong’s Reposado (for its nutty quality)
.25oz Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur
One orange peel dropped in mug and a dusting of bittersweet cocoa powder for garnish
Aztec Drinking Chocolate
12 oz whole milk
2 tbsp bittersweet Cocoa powder
2 oz. good quality pure bitter Chocolate, chopped
1 oz Demerara sugar
1 Star Anise
1 Mexican cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
pinch Ground Cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
Heat and stir milk, cocoa powder, and bitter chocolate on medium heat until melted. Add all other ingredients and cut heat down to low. Continue to heat for about 10 minutes. Strain this directly into mugs, followed by other alcoholic ingredients and stir in a fresh orange peel. Dust drinks with bitter sweet cocoa powder in a pattern for extra points! Goes well with fresh orange supremes sprinkled with cinnamon, dates, figs, and mint.
* “I Left My Heart in Jalisco” picture compliments of Liquor.com