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Valentine’s Day Cocktail Recipes

Deep affection cocktailHotel mixologists know a thing or two about catering to couples. So for Valentine’s Day, who better to turn to for fun cocktail inspiration? Here are some simple but sophisticated cocktail concoctions that are sure recipes for romance.


Deep Affection (pictured above)

Red berries make this jewel-toned cocktail the perfect choice for an evening of romance.

Recipe courtesy Lead Mixologist Zachary Blair, The Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, N.Y.


• 3 whole strawberries (reserve an additional strawberry for garnish)

• 1 oz raspberry liquor (Merlet or other brand)

• Splash of lime juice and simple syrup

• Dash of orange bitters (Bittermens or other brand)

• Splash of brut champagne

Muddle first four ingredients and double strain in high ball.

Add ice and top with brut champagne. Garnish with flared strawberry.



Lovers lagoon cocktailLover’s Lagoon

Think of this cocktail as a moonlit stroll on the beach — in a glass.

Recipe courtesy McCoy’s Oceanfront at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, Fla.

• 1 oz vodka

• 1 oz spiced rum

• 1 oz peach juice

• 1 oz pear juice

• 1 oz plum juice

• ½ oz blue curacao

Stir all ingredients in a glass without ice. Pour mix into a chilled glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.



fiery mandarin cocktail Fiery Mandarin

This one is guaranteed to add heat to any romance.

Recipe courtesy Lead Mixologist Eddie Garcia, jade bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Ariz.

• 2 oz Absolut vodka (or your favorite brand)

• 1 slice jalapeno

• 1/3 of an orange zest

• 1 oz cranberry juice

• ½ oz lemon juice

• ¾ oz simple syrup

Muddle jalapeno, add zest and liquids. Add ice, shake and double strain. Serve in chilled martini glass with jalapeno slice garnish.



Deceptively simple, this three-ingredient cocktail gets a romantic boost from aphrodisiac fennel. If you love the peppery taste of fennel, you’ll love this one.

Editor’s note: This recipe calls for fennel syrup. Essentially it’s a simple syrup (water and sugar) flavored with fennel. It’s pretty easy to make and you can use fennel syrup with this cocktail recipe or mix it in yogurt or other dishes for a spike of fennel flavor. Here’s’s take on making fennel syrup Or, if you prefer fennel syrup made with fresh fennel, check out this recipe in the blog by gluten-free-girl and the chef

The recipe also calls for fennel powder, essentially finely ground fennel seeds. You can grind them yourself in a spice grinder or buy powered fennel in better grocery stores.

At The Umstead Bar, for a special treat, the bartenders add candied fennel fronds to the garnish. If you want to do this too, it’s easy and you can do it while you make the fennel simple syrup. Here’s a recipe for candied fennel from Portland’s Culinary Workshop and one from The Washington Post that allows you to make both the syrup and the candied fennel at the same time.


Recipe courtesy The Umstead Bar, The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary, N.C.

• 2.0 oz Conniption Navy Strength gin (or your favorite brand)

• .75 oz fennel syrup

• .50 oz lime juice

• Dash of fennel powder

Mix first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a dash of fennel powder.



The Wink cocktailThe Wink

The name of this cocktail says it all.

Recipe courtesy Henry’s Hotel Bar, Harbor View Hotel, Martha’s Vineyard
• 1 2/3 oz. gin

• 2 tsp. triple sec

• 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup

• 3 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters (or other brand)

• 1/2 oz. absinthe, to coat the glass

• Orange twist

Combine gin, triple sec, sugar syrup and bitters in a shaker over ice and shake.

Strain into the absinthe-coated rocks glass. Finish with a spritz of orange zest and garnish with the orange peel.

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at