|Love Potions No.10
by JJ Proville photos by Antoinette Bruno
With the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday this year, singles and couples will cast aside their concerns about the economy and go out on the town en masse. Patrons will be ready and willing to indulge in a weekend-size dose of libations knowing that they have a lazy Sunday to recoup.
Mixologists, ever the modern-day cupids, are expected to perform at the height of their craft. The challenge lies in making sure the cocktail list offers an aphrodisiac for everyone, from the jittery first date to the melancholy barfly. Luckily, there’s no shortage of ideas these days. With all the exotic liqueurs and infusions, new twists on old drinks and new-fangled cocktail concepts, bar chefs should have no problem finding some inspiration.
To jumpstart the creative process, here are four love potions that we’ve collected from our travels to bars and restaurants around the country. Now get back to the lab and start stimulating some pheromones.
Mixologist Anthony Alba – Las Vegas, NV
Tequila isn’t an obvious partner to sparkling wine, but Alba coaxes them together in this elegant, lady-like cocktail. Light and effervescent, the Divinity manages to stay on the dry side, even with the subtle, aromatic touch of fruits from the combination of pomegranate liqueur, rose nectar, and guarana-spiked Remy Martin Cognac. Alba’s final touch is a delicate gold-dusted rose petal.
Mixologist Kevin Kelpe of Red Feather Lounge – Boise, Idaho
A well-structured drinks list should always include at least one dainty, feminine cocktail that can cater to a ladies’ night out or couples. Like the Divinity, the Mona Ramsey is one of those seductive concoctions. Kelpe uses an Idaho-made organic cucumber vodka (think crisp, freshly muddled flavors) and blends it with rose syrup and apple juice for a fragrant, simple drink finished off with fresh lime juice. The rose petal garnish is set on a different stage than the Divinity, but it makes the appearance of the drink just as romantic.
Mixologist Chris Tunstall of The Girl and the Fig – Sonoma, CA
A sexy, sophisticated tea-infused twist on the classic Sidecar (brandy, triple sec, and lemon juice) is carefully balanced with the distinctive flavor and soothing quality of chamomile (infused into the grappa). While the brandy serves to smooth out the grappa, the Sidecar is rounded out with sweet citrus and tangerine notes from the Meyer lemon juice and twist.
Mixologist Ken Hall of Noir Bar – Las Vegas, NV
When a mixologist gives in to their inner pastry chef, fun drinks like the Carrot Cake are conceived. Nocello, Bailey’s, and whipping cream lend different levels of rich creaminess to the ounce of carrot juice, which is sweetened by brown sugar, cinnamon, and simple syrup. Dessert cocktails like this (Hall’s specialty) present a way for the mixologist to contribute to the meal at the end, rather just than at the beginning. And this one in particular really does taste exactly like its name.