There is something about a well-made cocktail that can just set the night ablaze. I’m not talking about a vodka and soda or a whiskey and coke. I mean a cocktail that takes technique and a skilled hand. Watching the methodical bartender build your drink from basic ingredients to finishing it with a beautiful garnish just before they slide it across the bar to you is mesmerizing. Valentine’s Day is a perfect date night to have a cocktail make you feel like you are in the most romantic place you’ve ever been. Here are two sexy cocktails that you should enjoy on the biggest date night of the year.

The Dirty Martini has been the base structure for millions of different cocktails. There is no better accessory to your finest duds than this classic cocktail. No, it’s not new but a well-made martini can be the difference in saving the world or not, just ask James Bond. The recipe for the Dirty Martini has evolved and changed over time but it’s taste profile remains the same. It is briney, boozey, and dry all at the same time. 

To make: 

  1. Take 2 1/2 ounces of your favorite vodka (Cat Head Vodka from Jackson, MS for me) or gin (Bombay Sapphire is at almost every bar in the world), throw in a dash of dry vermouth and olive brine, to taste, (straight out of the jar or an olive juice mixer like Dirty Sue) into a shaker tin with ice. Shake it until the tin is frosty. 
  2. Strain it into a chilled martini glass and don’t forget the olive garnish. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to make a definitive statement to your date and then slowly take the olive off the toothpick with your teeth.

Another great Valentine’s day cocktail is the Clover Club. This pre-Prohibition era cocktail can really set off the evening. It has a slight pink hue to it and this cocktail is built with technique.

To make:

  1. Grab 2 ounces of gin (try Bombay Sapphire) and pour it into a cocktail shaker with no ice (very important). Then add 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 ounce of Chambord (a dark raspberry liqueur), and an egg white. 
  2. Do a “dry shake.” This is what we call shaking a cocktail without ice. It emulsifies the ingredients and the egg white to create a silky, creamy texture. The egg white is a textural component, you will not taste an egg in your cocktail. Once everything is blended together, add ice to the shaker and shake again. This time we are chilling down your cocktail. 
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass call a coupe. Add a garnish of three raspberries and enjoy this rich, floral, fruity cocktail while locking eyes with your loved one. Beware of the Clover Club mustache. It is quite frothy.

Cocktails are a fun, sexy way to try something new on a date at a romantic restaurant. Most of them will probably have a cocktail special or a wine special running for Valentine’s Day, so always ask your server or bartender what they are doing special tonight. Happy Valentine’s Day!