15 Valentine Cocktails To Turn Up The Romance

Chocolates and roses may flood the market as tokens of Valentine romance, but the true romantics know the real magic is in Valentine's Day cocktails. Smooth and sophisticated, sweet and frivolous, warm and frothy — whatever the formula, great drinks are a spectacular way to kick off a celebration of love. Valentine's Day brings the opportunity for stylish drinking featuring elegant creations that inspire warm feelings and sweet moments. With the right concoctions on the table and some slick bartending mojo, you can create first-rate beverages that stoke the perfect Valentine vibe.

Like other couples celebrating the Day of Love, you could book a table at your favorite haunt and order something from the bar for a stress-free cocktail experience. Or, if you're eager to show your sweetheart your mad mixology skills, you can jump behind your home bar and blend up your own menu of luscious libations. These creative cocktails include a generous dash of Valentine spirit to help get you and your boo in the mood for a memorable evening.

Chocolate Martini

Starting off a Valentine's Day drink menu with a chocolate beverage may seem like a bit of a cheat. But allowances can be made when the drink in question is a sharp and smartly crafted chocolate martini featuring crème de cacao and ruby port. A kicky blend of maraschino liqueur and smoky mezcal add complexity that takes this version into new flavor realms. Things really heat up with a duet of fiery mix-ins in the form of chipotle bitters and a pinch of cayenne. Talk about a spicy romance!

With a rim of sugar and cocoa powder on each glass to punch up the chocolate factor and all liquid ingredients dancing together in a shaker with plenty of ice, all that's left once you pour this libation of temptation in the glass is to float few rose petals on top. You can try making this upscale chocolate martini for yourself to see how much heat a drink served cold can generate.

Frosé Cocktail

Frozen drinks in February aren't as strange as they might appear, especially when they're made from rosé, the blushing beauty that wine lovers have rediscovered. As BevAlc Insights notes, the rosé market continues to surge, and though favored as a warm-weather beverage, rosé can be enjoyed year round. Getting creative with soft wine in frosted form invites snuggling for warmth while the drinks stay sweet and cool. If you're accustomed to ordering your coffee drinks as frappes no matter what the weather is like, this chilly frosé cocktail concoction may be the Valentine's Day beverage of your dreams.

There's more than just pink wine in the recipe, which is where the "cocktail" part of the name arises. A couple ounces of Chambord brings in extra alcohol goodness with a raspberry kick, while frozen strawberries and raspberries blitzed in the blender with the liquor add to the slush and the sweetness. To keep things from getting too sweet in the glass, a squeeze of lemon juice balances out the blend. The results are a tangy, zippy slush that adds energy to your cozy table for two. Test the recipe for yourself and watch the sparks fly.

Dirty Shirley

A Shirley Temple is the most innocent of virgin drinks, a real sweetheart of grenadine and lemon-lime soda, perfect for those who prefer to teetotal at the bar rather than go a little wild. But on Valentine's Day, even Shirley lets her hair down in a saucy twist called a Dirty Shirley. This grown-up take on a much more naïve beverage includes all the well-known elements of the original and throws in a mature double shot of vodka to give the simple sweetness a groovy growl. The results are a basic mix that doesn't require a world of mixology knowledge to get the good times underway. If you can pour ingredients in a glass, you can make a Dirty Shirley.

There are a few fun tricks to signal that this is a Valentine's Day drink for adults in love. Be sure to serve your Dirty Shirleys in true bar glasses to feel like you're sitting at the grown-up table. When adding grenadine to each beverage, stir carefully to create a rosy ombré effect to dazzle your drinking buddy. Give this mocktail-turned-cocktail a spin for a swoon-worthy kiss of a Love Day beverage.

Bourbon-Blackberry Cocktail

Sweet and smoky create a sophisticated flavor marriage that never loses its heat. That spirit is captured in a bourbon and blackberry, an ambitious cocktail that isn't afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. Boasting bittersweet Bruto Americano liqueur and a generous pour of bourbon, this romantic mix comes to life with a dash of bitters and a spoon of blackberry preserves, a sugary touch bold enough to assert its sweetness without overpowering its cocktail compatriots. Poured over ice and served with a warm heart, this beverage is clever enough to spirit you away to a more romantic era, without having to leave the cozy comfort of home.

If you're up for a little mixologist magic, you can transform this simple drink into a total smoke show by lighting a cinnamon stick to serve as a garnish. Put together your own bourbon-blackberry cocktail for an evening that simmers no matter how much ice is in your glass.

Hot Honey-Bourbon Slushie

The pairing of smooth honey and sultry bourbon is a match made in mixology heaven. It even serves as a folkstyle remedy for a sore throat in the form of a hot toddy, as USA Today reports. While the name of this beverage suggests you'll be drinking something warm and soothing, you're in for a sweet, chilly surprise. Rather than the temperature of the drink, "hot" refers to chili-infused honey, a sweet-and-spicy tongue twister that provides two tantalizing flavors in a single impressive ingredient. Added to a blender with vanilla ice cream, whole milk, and bourbon, this golden syrup of fire and sugar mixes down, bringing sweet heat to an alcoholic slush that warms as it cools, like sizzling snow in a glass.

While there's a generous dollop of hot honey in the mix, be sure to top off your drinks with an extra drizzle to set your cool Valentine's Day cocktails ablaze. Fire up the blender and take the hot honey-bourbon slushie for a spin.

Sweet Red Sangria

If red is the color of Valentine's Day, then sangria is officially the unofficial drink designated to carry the banner. This saucy blend of deep red wine and zesty fruit is a festival of sweetness that keeps its sophisticated heart while dancing a tango on your taste buds. Wine lovers will thrill to the combination of citrus and apples accenting their favorite bottle of red, sharing the glass with a tingle of orange juice and the warmth of brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and white rum. What happens next is a celebration in a glass, a cocktail party where every ingredient befriends the others, and true connections are made. And if all that happens in the pitcher, just imagine the joyful influence this juicy concoction will have on your Valentine's Day get-together.

Muddling the fruit before mixing will release the flavors, and chilling for a few hours before serving will ensure the glorious sangria power is in full effect. Play mix master with your own pitcher of sweet red sangria for an enchanting elixir to make your night magical.

Old Fashioned

The name of this classic creation says it all. An old fashioned is the perfect choice for a couple who prefers things of a timeless nature. According to Whiskey Rebellion Trail, the old fashioned has a colorful history with the phrase starting out as being synonymous with cocktails in general. Now, the name references a whiskey-based beverage with the qualities of a long-lasting relationship: It's a little sweet, a bit tart, and overall enjoyable through and through. A simple foursome of ingredients makes it easy to concoct your own set of old fashioned drinks for a stylish stay-at-home Valentine's Day beverage.

Anyone new to the home bartending scene can catch the hang of making old fashioneds with just a round or two behind the bar. A sugar cube kissed by Angostura bitters starts the age-old dance, before ice and bourbon bring their own frost and fire to the blend. A strip of orange peel and a maraschino cherry as garnish make welcome guests. Travel through time, and create a few old fashioneds to set a romantic tone.

Spiced Clementine Whiskey Sour

A complex number like the spiced clementine whiskey sour takes a bit more doing behind the bar than some simpler spirits. But when the smoke of the whiskey flirts with the tangy clementine essence, the added effort is sure to pay off. Part of the magic lies in creating a spicy simple syrup that uses cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom to stoke the fire. Once the syrup cools, it's ready to join the dance with whiskey, fresh clementine juice, and an egg white to get things nice and frothy. After a bit of a shake-up, these tempting partners settle down to create a satisfying beverage with a little bit of something to please everyone at the table.

Make your drinks extra fancy when serving by adding a dash of lemon bitters, plus grated cinnamon and nutmeg for garnish. With a spiced clementine whiskey sour bringing the romance to the party, Valentine's Day enjoyment is the prime selection from your home bar menu.

Between the Sheets

If the mischievous name of this cheeky drink isn't enough to clue you in, the energetic blend of citrus and rum flavors should tell you that you're in for a good time. A list of easy-to-mix ingredients means you're in for sweet and simple fun with your beverage, rather than embarking on a Valentine-themed complication-ship. The key player in this blend is cognac, a brandy from the Cognac region of France that's been loved by liquor connoisseurs for centuries. Equal parts cognac, triple sec, and white rum take a spin in the cocktail shaker, while lemon juice joins the celebration once the mix is fixed. If it were any simpler to make, this drink would pour itself into a glass and serve itself with a smile. As it is, you'll have to pour and serve it yourself.

For a finishing touch, add a strip of orange peel for garnish to lend visual interest as well as a smattering of citrus flavor. Prepare a round or two of Between the Sheets and enjoy a cozy time wherever you choose to drink it.

Lemony French 75

Ah, the zesty romance of France, introduced into a Valentine's Day cocktail selection that makes the most of winter citrus! A cocktail with a vintage pedigree, the French 75 is a champagne bubbler that stands glass-to-glass with better-known sudsy sips like mimosas and bellinis. Think lemon drops, lemonade, lemon pie — all the best and brightest ways vivid citrus can add sunshine to February frost. For lovers of lemon-flavored folly, this effervescent cocktail is just the thing to bring zip and zing to a romantic tete-a-tete in need of some old-fashioned fizz!

The lemon essence arises from a citrusy simple syrup made ahead of time. The syrup leaps in the shaker with gin and champagne or prosecco for a vibrant shake that really gets the party started. A little more bubbly floating on top and a curlicue of lemon peel finish off the creation. Get your Valentine party bubbling with some Lemony French 75s and see where the night takes you.

Spiced Grand Marnier Hot Chocolate

Cozy up your Valentine's Day festivities with a chocolate drink that's warm in more ways than one. Spiced Grand Marnier hot chocolate is a classic cocoa drink spiked with the welcome presence of orange liqueur to create more than a drop of sophistication. With chili peppers as part of the spice blend adding spark to the sweetness, this creamy concoction drinks like a dessert with a fun alcoholic surprise at the bottom of every glass. No need for a box of chocolates when you have a cup filled with melted fudge and a splash of citrus booze on the table!

Because hot chocolate is practically naked without whipped cream, add a generous dollop and a sprinkle of chili powder to finish of your drinks in fine fashion. Get your own warm moments started by adding a sweet round or two of spiced Grand Marnier hot chocolate to your Valentine's Day cocktail plans.

The Stowaway

Rum drinks can't help but conjure up the pirate-style romance of the high seas; it's just part of their charm. The Stowaway is one of these evocative drinks, a tribute to the rum and spice trades that wrote tall ships and scalawags into the age-old chronicle of boozy beverages. You can try this rummy concoction without risking your neck among nautical thieves by serving up a few Stowaways as part of your Valentine's Day celebration. All it takes to brew up this simmering sip is a couple chai tea bags, some cinnamon sticks, and hot water added to a Thermos to create spiced tea. Finish off your swashbuckling creation with rum and honey, plus a bit of lemon and vanilla for added flavor. Raise a glass and set off on an adventure of the heart — and the taste buds.

For a spicy, boozy treat with a Valentine's Day cocktail, put the Stowaway to work on your romantic bar beverage treasure map, and make this tipsy traveler earn its keep.

Warm and Cozy Hot Toddy

A hot toddy is like a snuggle in a glass, a comforting mix of sweet and spicy that soothes hearts and spreads warmth from head to toe. With a few of these tasty treats among your Valentine's Day beverage offerings, you'll have a lead-in to the cuddling ahead and a delicious concoction that's perfect for making toasty toasts to the one who sets your heart aflame. To say this drink lets you share a bit of honey with your honey might border on saccharine, but sweetness is what the holiday is all about!

The process for making a hot toddy is similar to making tea, only in this version, boiling water is the base for a combination of whiskey, honey, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The results are fragrant and calming, an ideal way to end an evening of indulgence that even Cupid would approve of. Try brewing up a warm and cozy hot toddy for you and your sweet someone for a relaxing nightcap.

Hot Chocolate Tequila

For getting a real Valentine's Day fire started, tequila is a firebrand of a spirit that belongs in your bag of home mixology tricks. This is no basic liquored-up hot chocolate; the wizardry of creating a complex chocolate mix with tequila as a featured player means you'll be putting your bartending abilities to the test. When it comes to matters of the heart, no challenge is too great. Fortunately, the same logic applies to matters of mixology.

Your base for this divine brew is a concoction of tequila and Fernet Branca, an herbal liqueur that provides body and flavor. Simmered with milk, sugar, and chocolate, this loving couple becomes part of an alcoholic cocoa that makes a chocolate lover's dreams come true. But the crowning glory of this drink is foamed milk prepared with the intriguing addition of cigar smoke essence. With so much mystical goodness in the mix, a glass of hot chocolate tequila can help keep your Valentine's Day celebration on the scintillating side.

Mescal Coffee Cocktail

Mescal is tequila's smoky, slightly more mysterious counterpart, often making appearances in drinks where tequila is equally welcome. When this spirit takes the spotlight as it does in a mescal coffee cocktail, it gets to show off its moves in a beverage that can make your Valentine's Day a caffeinated gala, even if you and your bae are the only guests in attendance. A shot of cold brew concentrate serves as the base for this buzzworthy blend, with mescal joined by peach liqueur, rhubarb amaro, and bitters in the glass. Stirred not shaken and strained into chilled glasses, the finished product is an elegant, sophisticated way to toast love and all its glorious complications.

Adventurers in love and drinking can create their own mescal coffee cocktails to bring the party to a warm and romantic close. It's a perfect sip to savor before heading into the sunset arm in arm with another successful Valentine's Day celebration in the books.