valentine's day cocktail Valentine’s Day… Yup, it’s happening. Again. Which means you’re probably either stressing to find a perfect gift/dinner reservation, or you’re holing up inside your house with a stiff drink. Then again, if you’re a bartender, you’re probably working. But regardless, such a day calls for a cocktail. Unfortunately — and as confirmed by the surge in emails we’ve gotten over the past week — this often means a sickly sweet drink that’s artificially red and rimmed in candy hearts. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

So below: some quality cocktails you can feel good about drinking this Valentine’s Day.

Love Letter (Adam Wilson, Beretta)

1 oz Campari
1 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz Cointreau
.25 oz maple syrup (should be 1:1 with water)
.25 oz Small Hand Grenadine
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake, add soda, and pour over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a lime peel.


Between the Sheets

.75 oz Cognac
.75 oz White Rum
.75 oz Triple Sec
.5 oz lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.


Cali Be Mine

1.5 oz Caliche Rum
.5 oz Bianco Vermouth
2 fresh ginger wheels
2 dashes Angostura bitters

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger to a puree, add the remaining ingredients and shake vigorously until well chilled. Serve over ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with the ginger sliver.


Cupid’s Cuvee

1 oz Shellback Spiced Rum
.75 oz Sloe Gin
.5 oz Falernum
2 oz Brut Champagne

Stir everything except Champagne with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled flute, top with brut Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.


Mi Amor

2 oz Camarena Silver Tequila
1 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Agave Nectar
2 Cucumber Wheels
2 Blackberries
2 oz Ginger Beer

Muddle cucumber and blackberries in a mixing glass. Add tequila, lemon juice, agave nectar and ice. Shake and strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with cucumber wheel.


Or, if all that fails, just drink a Negroni. It looks the part, and it’s bittersweet. See, win win.