Valentine's Day Cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Photography by Dan Malpass

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Valentine's Day cocktails tend to have corny names and due to the shape of strawberries looking uncannily like hearts, consequently, many of the cocktails have strawberries for a garnish or in their recipe. Handily, strawberries also give them the desired shade of red.

Rather than a dozen red roses on Valentine's, here are 20 cocktails to surprise your loved one with.

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Angel Face
With: Gin, calvados, apricot brandy and chilled water.
We say: Rich apricot and apple with a backbone of botanical gin. Balanced rather than dry or sweet.

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Angel's Share
With: Green Chartreuse, cognac, walnut liqueur and tawny port.
We say: A fabulous drink, especially when VEP Chartreuse, family reserve cognac and 20 year old tawny port are used as per the original Starlight Room recipe.

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Bacardi Special
With: Light rum, gin, lime juice, grenadine syrup, sugar syrup and chilled water.
We say: Hit the perfect proportions and you will strike a wondrous balance of flavoursome rum, gin botanicals, limey sourness and fruity sweetness.

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Colletti Royal
With: Tequila, triple sec, elderflower liqueur, blood orange juice, lime juice, orange bitters and rosé champagne.
We say: Sweet and sour and very fruity - like a good Valentine's date.

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Dunderstruck
With: Jamaican rum, Campari, strawberry syrup, pineapple juice and absinthe.
We say: Fruity in every sense of the word - not to mention eatery with namesake dundery rum notes takes centre stage. (Flavours are somewhat reminiscent of a Reggae Rum Punch.)

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Elle Loves
With: Light rum infused with vanilla, rosé wine, pineapple juice and grenadine syrup.
We say: Fruity, very slightly sweet and suitably pink in colour.

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Flame of Love Martini
With: Vodka, fino sherry and orange peel.
We say: Bone dry but fresh and most definitely citrusy.

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Honey Bee Mine
With: Light rum, honey, vanilla extract and brut champagne.
We say: Honey and vanilla laced with white rum and charged with champagne. Perfect for Valentine's Day.

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Love Heart
With: Vodka, parfait amour liqueur, strawberry liqueur and brut champagne.
We say: This lavender pink drink is everything you (or your partner) might want for a Valentine's tipple. It is the right colour, includes parfait amour liqueur (meaning perfect love) and the all-important champagne sparkle. Good luck.

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Maiden's Blush
With: Gin, triple sec, grenadine syrup, lemon juice and chilled water.
We say: Pale pink, subtle and light.

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Old Flame
With: Gin, triple sec, sweet vermouth, Campari and orange juice.
We say: Bittersweet, orchard fresh orange charged with gin.

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P.S. I Love You
With: Irish cream liqueur, amaretto, golden rum, coffee liqueur and single cream.
We say: P.S. You'll love this creamy, slightly sweet desert cocktail.

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Passion Fruit Martini
With: Passion fruit, vodka and passion fruit syrup.
We say: Simple but tasty, harnessing the flavour of passion fruit.

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Ramos Chocolate Fizz
With: Gin, crème de cacao, orange flower water, vanilla extract, pasteurised egg white, single cream and brut champagne.
We say: Creamy chocolate vanilla fudge with faint orange and a hint of gin.

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Rossini
With: Strawberries, strawberry liqueur and prosecco.
We say: Strawberries seem to complement prosecco even better than white peaches so perhaps order this in preference to a Bellini.

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Sidecar Named Desire
With: Calvados, apple schnapps, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Take a classic Sidecar and add some love interest - apples!

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Submarine Kiss
With: Crème de violette liqueur, gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and pasteurised egg white.
We say: Looks stunning and gives the drinker the option to sip or swirl to mix the sweet liqueur base into the body of the drink.

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Sweetheart
With: Vodka, rose petal liqueur, cranberry liqueur and lime juice.
We say: A floral riff on a classic Cosmopolitan. The quality of rose liqueur used makes or breaks this romantically themed cocktail.

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Valentini
With: Strawberries, raspberry flavoured vodka, Benedictine, strawberry syrup, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: A rich ripe strawberry and raspberry riff on the Porn Star Martini with lemon freshness and faint saffron.

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Woo Woo
With: Vodka, peach 'schnapps' liqueur, cranberry juice and peach bitters.
We say: Fruity, dry cranberry laced with vodka and sweet peach liqueur. A quaffable cocktail from the 1980s.

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