Valentine’s Day brings to mind all things sweet and pink—conversation hearts, raspberry cream-filled chocolates, and that ubiquitous cocktail, the Cosmo. Thankfully, pink-hued tipples have improved tremendously since the vodka-cranberry concoction’s 1990s heyday. We’ve tapped Emma Emerson, co-founder of cocktail, food, and design website Gastronomista, for eight recipes guaranteed to make your heart—and tastebuds—go pitter-patter. We’re happy to report that there’s nary a Cosmo or white-chocolate-raspberry martini in sight.
1. Pink Gin
Don’t be fooled by the somewhat girly name: This cocktail originated with the 19th-century British Royal Navy, which prescribed the drink to seamen suffering from seasickness. I happen to think it’s perfect for 21st-century imbibing.
2 oz Plymouth Gin
3 drops Angostura bitters
Coat the inside of a chilled old fashioned glass with a few drops of Angostura bitters, and discard the excess. Add chilled gin and garnish with a lemon rind.
2. Pink Lady
Hollywood bombshell Jayne Mansfield often enjoyed a Pink Lady, which makes it more than good enough for me.
1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
1 egg white
Shake well with cracked ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry.
3. Coconut Guava
In the dead of winter, a proper tiki drink can magically conjure up images of the beach, your toes in the sand, and a glorious sunset on the horizon. Let this Coconut Guava cocktail take you there.
1 oz coconut milk
1 oz Pink Pigeon Rum
2 oz guava nectar
1 oz lime juice
1 T simple syrup
5 dashes Bittermens’ Tiki Bitters
Shake all ingredients together with ice and either pour over a large ice cube or blend with ice.
The Negroni is among my greatest loves—sweet, bitter, and strong. It’s red—not pink—but I couldn’t leave it out of a Valentine’s roundup. Traditionally served with an orange slice, it’s also delicious (a bit more bracing) with a lemon peel, plus a swipe of fresh lemon juice on the rim of the glass.
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Beefeater Gin
Mix in a chilled glass with ice. Gently rim the glass with fresh lemon juice, and garnish with lemon peel.
5. Fragoli & Champagne
When I tasted Fragoli for the first time last year at the annual Tales of the Cocktail event, it instantly transported me back to Italy and the tiny wild strawberries (called fragoline) served there for dessert in early summer. Yes, Fragoli is a chick drink. And no, I don’t care. I want it in everything: poured over ice cream, shaken into martinis, and most importantly, served with champagne.
1 oz Fragoli
4 oz champagne or prosecco
Pour Fragoli into a chilled champagne flute and top off with Champagne. Enjoy!
6. Beach Plum Gin Fizz
Last summer, I was introduced to Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Gin, a New York take on England’s sloe gin. The Brooklyn version uses local beach plums, making for a lighter and more floral variation. I love it shaken up into a traditional gin fizz—a throwback cocktail from the 19th century originally created to cure hangovers. For a dose of extra fanciness, top with champagne instead of seltzer.
2 oz Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Gin
½ oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 egg white
4-5 dashes Brooklyn Hemispherical Meyer Lemon Bitters
Lemon for slicing
Shake gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice and strain into a cocktail glass over ice. Top with seltzer and garnish with a thinly sliced lemon.
Greyhound cocktails are fabulous throughout the year, but they’re especially delicious in the winter months when citrus is in season.
1 oz Absolut Vodka
3 oz freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
5 dashes grapefruit bitters
Grapefruit slice for garnish
Rosemary sprig for garnish
Shake vodka and grapefruit juice with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a thin slice of grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary. Optional: rim the glass beforehand with sugar for extra sweetness.
8. Jalapeno Guava Margarita
Margaritas are too often reserved for summer; I like them all year long! This cocktail is a perfect way to add some heat to your Valentine’s evening.
1 oz Patron Silver Tequila
1 jalapeno pepper (sliced)
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Cointreau
¼ oz agave syrup
2 oz guava juice
Salt rim of cocktail coupe to preference. Thinly slice the jalapeno pepper, removing the seeds. Muddle pepper in a tall glass or shaker, then add remaining ingredients and cracked ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail coupe. Float a few thin slices of jalapeno with the seeds removed on the surface of the cocktail.