With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make your guests feel special. If you’re a bar owner or bartender, one great way to do that is by creating cocktails themed for the holiday of love.
Not sure where to start other than your regular old glass of red? Look no further; along with the team at Local Bartending School, I’ve got some delicious and romantic recipes here that are guaranteed to be a hit at any bar you’re serving at or running. Consider us the cupid for pairing up a cocktail with your guests.
Read on to learn more about making mixology magic happen–behind the bar, that is.
But before we get going, let’s learn a quick story from my bartender friend John. Luckily, you have me and the team at LBS so you won’t have to work as hard as he did. Poor dude.
John was a bartender at the hottest new bar in town and he thought he was ready for anything that came his way. But when Valentine’s Day rolled around, John quickly realized how wrong he had been! His customers were coming in expecting romantic cocktails to share with their loved ones, but unfortunately, John had no idea what any of them were.
John felt like an idiot as couples kept asking him to make something special and all he could do was shrug his shoulders.
To make matters worse, one couple had spent a ton of money on dinner and drinks only to leave without even enjoying the drinks they ordered because there wasn’t anything special about them.
The couple left a scathing review on Yelp claiming that it ruined their romantic evening out, which caused business at the bar to drop off significantly over the next few days.
This made John determined never to let this happen again; so after work each night he hit up every library and bookstore within a twenty-mile radius looking for books on cocktail recipes or bartending tips and tricks.
After weeks of hard work (and some trial-and-error) finally learned enough about mixology that by next Valentine’s Day, he could whip up all kinds of romantic cocktails for couples looking for something special! And business certainly picked up, plus John earned more than ever before in tips from happy couples who appreciated his newfound skills!
Cocktail Recipes to Make Your Guests Fall in Love with (And Tip) You More
The Classic: The French Martini
This classic drink is a favorite of many because it looks as good as it tastes.
To make this cocktail, combine two parts vodka, one part Chambord, and one part pineapple juice in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve to your bar folks enjoy!
The Sweetheart: Raspberry Sangria
For the wine lovers out there, try making this sweet sangria that will have your customers feeling all loved up.
In a large pitcher, mix together one bottle of white wine (like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc), one cup of brandy, ½ cup of orange juice concentrate, and ½ cup of raspberry liqueur. Stir in one cup each of frozen raspberries and orange slices before serving over ice in glasses garnished with fresh mint leaves.
The Dreamy: Strawberry Champagne Float
Now for something truly indulgent—a strawberry champagne float! This impressive concoction is sure to wow your guests.
Start by combining two tablespoons each of honey and lemon juice in a bowl before adding three cups of fresh strawberries that have been diced into small pieces; stir until everything is coated evenly with the mixture before setting aside for 10 minutes. Now take four champagne flutes and fill them halfway with champagne; top off each glass with the strawberry mixture before stirring gently and garnishing with extra strawberries if desired.
Mulled Wine with Cranberries and Rosemary
This cozy winter-themed cocktail is sure to warm up any romantic evening.
Start by simmering a bottle of red wine over low heat until it reaches a gentle boil. Add cranberries, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, honey or sugar to taste—whatever flavors you think will create an intriguing drink. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes before straining out the solids. Serve warm in mugs or glasses and garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs.
Is your guest craving some chocolate today? Can’t say I blame them really. This delectable martini may be just what they need this February 14th.
Combine 1/2 ounce of vodka, 1/2 ounce of crème de cacao dark liqueur (or white if preferred), 1/2 ounce of cream or half-and-half, 2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup, and a few drops of vanilla extract in a shaker filled with ice.
Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds and strain into chilled martini glasses. For extra indulgence top each glass off with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips or shaved chocolate pieces. Serve with a smile that’s worth a Godiva at best.
Cherry Champagne Punch
This bubbly punch is perfect for sippin’ on Valentine’s Day brunch!
In a large pitcher combine one 750ml bottle of champagne or sparkling wine with 2 cups of cherry juice concentrate (thawed) along with 2 cups of orange juice concentrate (also thawed). Stir in 1 cup of grenadine syrup plus 2 tablespoons of lime juice (both freshly squeezed are best). Finally, add 1 cup each of frozen raspberries and cherries plus 4 thinly sliced small oranges (optional). Pour into tall glasses over ice cubes if desired.
Cupid's Arrow Chocolate Martini
This sweet and delicious martini is perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Combine 1/2 ounce vodka, 1/2 ounce crème de cacao dark liqueur (or white if preferred), 1/2 ounce cream or half-and-half, 2 teaspoons chocolate syrup, 4 drops raspberry liqueur or raspberry syrup (optional), and a few drops of vanilla extract in a shaker filled with ice.
Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds then strain into chilled martini glasses rimmed with chocolate sauce or melted chocolate chips (optional).
Finish each glass off with some whipped cream topped off with mini red heart candies.
Your guests can and will enjoy the wrath of Cupid’s arrow anytime as we get this requested all the time!
Rose Champagne Cocktail
Celebrate bubbly love with this rose-infused champagne cocktail! Start by pouring 2 ounces of rose liqueur into a champagne flute or other glass then top off with chilled champagne. For extra indulgence garnish with fresh raspberries and lemon slices. This delightful drink is sure to make your entire bar’s Valentine’s evening special!
What could be more romantic than a strawberry-flavored daiquiri?
Start by preparing the strawberry puree. In a blender, combine half a cup of frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Puree until smooth then strain and set aside. Now it’s time to make the daiquiri! Fill a shaker with ice then add 1 ounce of white rum, 1 ounce of the prepared strawberry puree, and 1/2 an ounce each of freshly squeezed lime juice and simple syrup (or more if desired). Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds then strain into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with fresh strawberries.
Aphrodite's Pomegranate-Lime French 75
This romantic cocktail is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with an elegant, flavorful twist on the classic French 75. Featuring the flavors of tart pomegranate and sweet lime, this bubbly beverage is sure to make your event or guest’s special!
To make Aphrodite’s Pomegranate-Lime French 75, you’ll need two ounces of gin, one ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, one ounce of simple syrup, two ounces of pomegranate juice, and a few dashes of orange bitters. Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously until chilled. Next, strain your mixture into a chilled champagne flute and top it off with brut sparkling wine or champagne. Garnish with a fresh pomegranate seed for added flavor and festive flair!
Honestly, the combination of citrusy lime with fragrant pomegranate makes this delicious cocktail light yet complex enough to enjoy at any time. But since it’s the season for love, I guess it’s romantic enough! (There’s a little Valentine’s Day flack for my non-romantic readers.)
The bubbly sparkling wine balances the sweetness from the pomegranate juice for just the right amount of tartness that will leave your couples (or singles or trios!) wanting more. With its deep pink hue and fresh garnish this beautiful beverage looks as good as it tastes making it an ideal choice for a flirty celebration like Valentine’s Day.
So treat your special-someone-patrons to something extra special with this easy V-Day recipe, Aphrodite’s Pomegranate-Lime French 75!
The LOVEBUG Cocktail
This Valentine’s Day, why not surprise your special someone (ah-hem, I mean your guests) with a bite from the love bug liquor?
This classic romantic cocktail is incredibly simple to make. All you need is white cranberry juice, vodka, grenadine, and lemon-lime soda.
Simply mix two parts white cranberry juice with one part vodka, add a few drops of grenadine for color and sweetness, then finish it off with some refreshing lemon-lime soda. Top it all off with some fresh cherries for added decoration and flavor.
You can make it extra special for the guests who are nice to you by adding a few drops of sugar syrup for a little bit of sweetness and topping it off with some sweet maraschino cherries or a fresh edible flower as a garnish. Bonus points for a red sugar rim, though!
There’s no better way to say ‘I kinda like you, random stranger’ than with this special homemade cocktail! This romantic drink is bound to impress your lovey-dovey-eyed guests, just like a beautiful bouquet of roses would. It’s too bad their partner forgot the whole flower part. That’s when you come in with a drink, right!?
White cranberry juice adds a delicate fruity flavor, while the vodka and grenadine add depth and complexity that really bring the drink alive. To finish it off, the lemon-lime soda gives it an extra zing that will tantalize the taste buds.
Before we leave you, let’s garnish this all off. (See what I did there?)
Here’s how to create a few Valentine’s Day garnishes to replace the flowers your guest never got.
All Is Fair in Love and Bar-tending
If these recipes have inspired you to show your customers some love this Valentine’s Day, why not sign up for lessons at Local Bartending School?
You’ll learn about different liquors, equipment used by bartenders, how to mix drinks like a pro, and even get an introduction to flair bartending – perfect for putting on an unforgettable show for your guests!
So don’t wait – sign up now so you can be ready in time for Valentine’s Day!
Check out our website now for more information on our classes led by the hottest group of bartending professionals found in the United States and Canada.