Last-minute drinks for Valentine’s Day

Drinks blogger James Robertson recommends some last-minute drinks for Valentine’s Day.

THE annual culling of red roses, carnations, and other flowers is taking place as florists prepare for Saint Valentine’s Day or, if one is being correct, the Feast of Saint Valentine. Chocolates, bottles of fizz, and maybe a few engagement rings are all being set aside to be given this evening. It occurred to me that I had no real idea of the origins of Valentine’s Day, the saint part of the day seems to have been dropped.

Saint Valentine in fact was a Christian martyr who was executed for ministering to persecuted Christians living under the yoke of the Roman empire during the 3rd century. According to legend, Saint Valentine not only restored sight to his jailer’s blind daughter, but before his execution wrote her a farewell letter that was signed – “Your Valentine”. Fast forward to the 18th century, it had blossomed into a day that couples expressed their love for each other, presenting gifts and sending cards known as “Valentines”. In Italy, keys are handed over, being an invitation to then unlock the recipient’s heart.

Forget the key – in my book, a good way to unlock someone’s heart is sharing a glass of something special and here are a few suggestions…


Pierre Legras Monographie Extra Dry 2012
A wonderful Blanc de Blancs, which comes from grapes in the village of Chouilly. Marcelline and Vincent have created an elegant, fresh wine with hints of apples and citrus. Don’t be put off by the words “extra dry” in the title as there is a lovely sweetness on the palate and the finish. Perfect with strawberries and, of course, chocolate. £50 www.sipchampagnes.com

Anna de Codorniu Rosé
Valentine’s Day, of course, also means a glass of pink fizz. This is a delightful Cava from the oldest producer, Codorniu, which has been making wine since 1551. This wine is made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with lovely red fruit notes with a hint of fresh apple.

Valentine's day cocktail

Rhubarb Sour Cocktail
Finlay the bartender at Ondine’s Oyster & Grill in Edinburgh has created the perfect cocktail to impress your loved one at home in style. The ingredients are: 50ml Leith Gin; 50ml rhubarb juice; the juice of half a lemon; one egg white; 10ml pomegranate syrup; two dashes of rhubarb bitters; and, finally, some raspberry powder. If you have all that at home then you have a better drinks cabinet than me! Add all the ingredients together into a cocktail shaker and dry shake. Add ice to the shaker and shake. Strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with a dusting of raspberry powder. Take a deep breath and enjoy!

Read more of James’ reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain.