With cocktail culture at home making a serious comeback, these local drink producers have teamed up to give us their top recipes.
More people than ever are experimenting with different spirits and mixers at home. But what should you serve your special someone this Valentine’s? Northern Ireland’s best-loved brands have shared their tips and tricks for creating a romantic aperitif at home.
For gin lovers
Jawbox Small Batch Gin is less than two years old but has already secured a cult following both at home and abroad.
Championed for its premium quality and unique flavour profile, this is the perfect choice for the gin-lover in your life.
Founder Gerry White says, “Gin has become the centre-piece of the cocktail scene, not just here in Northern Ireland but across the globe. It’s actually even more fitting as a base for Valentine’s cocktails than you would think.
“Our gin features cardamom, a powerful, potent spice said to be used as a natural aphrodisiac by kings in olden times. Juniper berries, the main botanical of all gins, are highly aromatic and are often considered to be quite sensuous.
“Our signature drink, the Perfect Swerve is a great choice for Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t take much time to make, meaning you can give your loved one your undivided attention. Simply pour 35ml of Jawbox into an ice-filled glass. Top-up with chilled, premium ginger ale and garnish with a squeeze and a wedge of fresh lime. Ginger ale was actually invented in Belfast too, how’s that for an ice- breaker?”
“If you’d like to create something a little more extravagant, I’d recommend the Jawbox Love Club. Inspired by the classic Clover Club this one is garnished with rich, red berries and looks like romance in a glass.”
50ml Jawbox Small Batch Gin
10ml Lemon juice
10ml Sweet Vermouth
1 Egg white
Redcurrants to garnish
Dry shake all the ingredients for about 30 seconds. Add ice and shake again until cold.
Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with redcurrants.
Jawbox Small Batch Gin is available from licensed retailers including Winemark, M and S and Amazon.
For the celebration
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is a busy one for weddings, wedding anniversaries and proposals so a bubbly on-hand is a must.
Davy Uprichard, founder of locally-produced, Tempted Cider says: “Craft cider isn’t an obvious choice for cocktails but it’s surprisingly quite versatile and when used in the right way, can make for a deliciously fruity creation.
“It also offers a unique way to include some fizz to a Valentine’s celebration.
“Our award-winning Elderflower is a medium sweet style made with 100% apple juice. It’s very light but very flavoursome so an ideal base. Add a little Prosecco and you have a crowd-pleaser - perfect for cider lovers and celebrations.
“Simply set out your champagne flutes, and pour chilled Tempted Elderflower about two-thirds of the way into each glass. Top up with your favourite Prosecco and serve.”
“Amongst the five ciders in our range is also a Strawberry style. To add a sweet touch to your evening, mix Tempted Strawberry, a little lime cordial, slices of strawberry, slices of cucumber and mint leaves.”
For the first date
Impressing a new flame this Valentine’s Day can be quite the challenge. Of course wine and beer are safe bets, but to pull out the stops, leading drinks company, Drinksology recommends impressing your date with rum.
Steven Pattison, director of the Belfast-based design agency says, “Rum is incredibly versatile, it can be used in a variety of drinks and will please a variety of palates. A dark rum, such as Red Bonny Dark Rum is especially easy to work with and can be served simply with an orange wedge and ice, or used in the cocktail of the moment, the espresso martini.
“Pour 25ml Red Bonny Dark Rum, 25ml coffee liqueur, 25ml sugar syrup and 25ml espresso into a shaker. Add ice and shake well. Strain into a martini glass and serve.”
For more information on Red Bonny Dark Rum, visit @RedBonnyRum on social media.
Already a firm favourite with local cocktail hotspots, The Ivory, Love and Death and Town Square, Braemble Gin Liqueur is a sublime mix of sweet blackberries and finest London Dry Gin.
Created by industry heroes Jason Scott and Mike Aikman along with proclaimed gin-genius Craig Harper, this simple yet sublime liqueur will have your Valentine thinking you’re a pro mixologist.
Scott says, “Lots of gin lovers and cocktail enthusiasts have yet to work with liqueurs at home. They will have sampled Braemble or similar in their favourite cocktails but perhaps haven’t yet realised how easy it is to work with.
“Braemble Gin Liqueur will help you shine on Valentine’s Day. Its impressive flavour profile is both versatile and complex meaning it works with just a splash of tonic or ginger ale, or in a more detailed recipe.
“I’d recommend The Braemble for this occasion - it’s a known crowd pleaser and it’s vibrant berry colour is fitting with the occasion. Pour 25ml of your favourite gin into a short-stemmed glass, add 20ml lemon juice and 10ml sugar syrup. Fill with crushed ice and stir.
“Add some more crushed ice and cap with Braemble. For an extra touch of finesse, garnish with mint, a juicy blackberry or both.”
For more gin-spiration from the Braemble team, visit braemble.com.