What to drink on Valentine’s Day: learn to love silly cocktails
Since Valentine’s Day is a holiday, here’s a quick guide on what to drink on this very weird day.
If you ask us, Valentine’s Day is an extremely nondescript holiday. No matter what the state of your relationship is, it can seem awkward and superficial. Plus, it’s still a pandemic. In the spirit of relaxing, here’s a quick guide on what to drink on this very strange day.
John deBary: Ok so it’s Valentine’s Day, the pandemic has been going on for 500 months, what are we drinking?
Youngmi mayer: During the pandemic, I didn’t really drink, I drank. Unfortunately I’m not good at making drinks so I just drink a lot of tequila on the rocks and White Claws which tastes bad !! And you John, what did you fix yourself?
JdB: Oh my God. I’m so everywhere right now. Last year I didn’t drink any alcohol at all so I did the opposite of a dry January – a wet January. Really, that means a bunch of really chaotic drinking experiences and enjoying the novelty.
YM: I am also a big supporter of the wet month of January, because it makes no sense for me to stop drinking during the most depressing and boring month of the year. I usually do a dry March or April.
JdB: Like the other day, I drank beer for the first time in 13 months and watched Wandavision and fell asleep at 9 p.m. It was unbelievable. Last night I had an amaro slushie from Momofuku Ko that I had saved since Thanksgiving.
YM: I love winter cocktails and it’s the only time of year when I really drink sweet syrups. My favorite is a sazerac but because of my forties I couldn’t sit in front of a professional who could make me one. Remember when I texted you because I had a tub of industrial size cranberry sauce and I was like, ‘How do I make a cocktail with this ?? Boil it ?? ‘and you were like’ why would you boil it? ‘
JdB: I have the impression that a lot of people fall into this trap where they think they have to do something with an ingredient in order to validate its use in a drink. It always makes me feel like an asshole to say, but when most people are like, “What should I do with X?” the most useful answer I can give is: “Drink it!” A lot of people are afraid to try things because they fear it will be “bad” and it’s like, “Brother, do you know how many horribly disgusting drinks I have made?
YM: Yes, I still think I need to do something ™ to my drinks. But also the most successful I had was when I mixed vodka with blueberry soda and added a squeeze of lemon. I think squeezing lemon is the layman’s magic trick, like someone is afraid of making drinks like me, just squeeze lemon on it and it’s magically amazing. Do you think this is a good tip or like an orange peel. My dad drinks whiskey with Diet Doctor Pepper and I think if I just put a heated orange peel on it, I could charge him $ 17 in Brooklyn. Is it offensive to bartenders?
JdB: The lemon thing is very legitimate. You would be surprised how much of a difference fresh citrus makes in a drink. It’s basic, but when you add a lemon wedge to a drink, you get acidity and flavor in the juice, as well as aromatic oils coming out of the skin. The same goes for heated orange peels. Ninety-five percent of a good bartender only nails the basics. The rest is marginal. I’m sad you weren’t lucky enough to have a proper Sazerac. It’s also one of my favorite drinks and it’s pretty easy to make sandbags. Maybe I’ll make you a bottle of Sazerac as a Valentine’s Day gift.
YM: So now that you’re drinking alcohol again, what’s happening to you? What do you like? We got close during your dry weather so I never knew you when you were drinking so I have no idea what you drink on a regular basis.
JdB: Honestly, everything hits – I have no tolerance. I had my first real cocktail in over a year last week, an Old Pal with Japanese whiskey. But a lot of what I find fun to drink is the social setting, so drinking at home isn’t that convincing to me – although I still do. I also find that wine gives me terrible hangovers. I drank red wine after midnight on New Years Day and literally felt like I had internal bleeding in my brain and had only had a few drinks.
So Valentine’s Day is approaching. I haven’t been single since 2006 and my husband and I regularly forget our birthdays, so the day hardly means anything to me. As a single person, does Valentine’s Day strike any differently when you’re single in your 30s and desperately lonely?
YM: When I say I’m single, I mean I have 10 boyfriends that I spend 8 days a week. so .. yes I am desperately alone.
JdB: Guys who live downstairs who text you at 1 a.m. and ask to be admitted to your apartment building because they forgot their keys don’t count as Youngmi boyfriends.
YM: Yes, they do and that’s also why I drink. What is a classic Valentine’s Day cocktail? Will you make me enough sazeracs that I can share with my 10 boyfriends (one of them has a gluten allergy)?
JdB: Actually all spirits are more or less gluten-free, so you’re good.
YM: I love sparkling wine. I know this is a big deal for V-Day. As a waiter on Valentine’s Day, I always see those brothers who never had it before forcing themselves to put it down. Once I went to Nobu and ordered a French 75 and the bartender said “what is this?” and then I saw Claudia Trump or whatever her name is? Valerie? Ivanka! And the butler was nice to her !! Anyway, I felt like I was way too cool for Nobu after that.
JdB: You are definitely too cool for Nobu, and they should also know what a French 75 is.
YM: What is a good champagne cocktail? Let’s make one called Absolutely Fabulous because I remember watching this show as a kid and being jealous of Eddie’s glass fridge full of champagne. Plus, I’m old and single like those girls in this show. What should there be?
JdB: Really, there is no such thing as a “ classic ” cocktail for Valentine’s Day, other than maybe a hopelessly uncreative strawberry monstrosity in champagne, or whatever the manager of Lavo’s bar is. prepared with four cases of Raspberry Stoli and Sparkling Rosé.
I feel like we’ve got a lot going on here from a drink point of view (but also psychological issues, which we should put aside for now.)
YM: My boyfriends are real Johns. So are gluten allergies.
JdB: We started with the idea of Sazerac… Let’s make a Valentine’s Day sandbagged Sazerac that has some elements of a French 75!
YM: Yes and let’s call it the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ !! I am very visibly addicted because I have body and Korean dysmorphia and you are patsy because you are pretty and blonde.
JdB: I’ve actually never seen more than 30 seconds of Ab Fab. Anyway, here’s what I think: it’s equal parts Sazerac and French 75 and equal parts revolting and daring. Honestly, the connection with Ab Fab is a little tenuous but it’s the 59th month of quarantine so damn it.
YM: That’s it, John. The most chaotic and anti-Valentine’s drink for Valentine’s Day. The drink for the single woman who has 10 unemployed boyfriends (including one allergic to gluten). The drink you have alone in your apartment in your pajamas because none of your boyfriends have plans with you on Valentine’s Day. Ab-Fab 59.
- 1 bottle of chilled sparkling wine
- 10 oz VSOP cognac
- 4 oz rose liqueur
- 4 oz raspberry liqueur
- 1 ounce of absinthe
- 0.25 oz of Peychaud bitters
- 5 oz of filtered water
1. Combine cognac, rose liqueur, raspberry liqueur, wormwood, bitter and water in a medium bowl, stirring to combine. Transfer to a container such as an empty bottle and put in the freezer for at least four hours.
2. To serve, pour 2 ounces of the bottled mixture into a chilled glass, garnish with 2 ounces of sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon wedge because it is every bartender’s secret weapon.