Long before I met my husband, settled down, moved to the suburbs and became a middle age mom cliché in yoga pants, I used to reliably spend February 14th mocking the Hallmark-mandated traditions of Valentine’s Day. My roommate at the time and I would get take-out Thai, watch VHS tapes of Tales of the City and scoff about the sappy expectations of, as we called it, The VD.
Yes, I was single, but no, I wasn’t bitter about it. At least, not much.
When I met the man I would eventually marry, I brought my feelings about commercially mandated romance into the relationship. I told him I didn’t want flowers, or chocolate, or champagne. Valentine’s Day wasn’t a special day for me and so, I told him magnanimously, he was off the hook.
And that’s how it was in my house for over a decade of marriage. Valentine’s Day came and went. Sometimes he bought a card, sometimes he didn’t. As a matter of principle, we never went out to dinner on February 14th.
And then, two years ago on Valentine’s Day, in a fit of romantic alchemy, my husband decided to tease me. He tinkered and adjusted and managed to pull together all the great symbols of that Valentine’s Day romance – chocolate, flowers and champagne – into one unbelievably delicious cocktail.
Forget velvet, heart-shaped boxes of waxy chocolate or overpriced bouquets of roses. This cocktail has it all. White Creme de Cacao (chocolate) and St. Germaine elderflower liquor (flowers) bring a bit of heady, romantic sweetness to a brandy base, while fresh lemon and champagne add just the right amount of bright sparkle to the drink.
I’ve never met a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than this drink. If it can turn me into a romantic believer, it’s a winner. Enjoy one or two with your special someone and tell me if you don’t agree.
Around here, we call this The Hallmark, because it has everything you need for a perfect Valentine’s Day.
The Hallmark Cocktail
- Raw sugar, for decorating cocktail glass
- 1.5 oz Brandy
- .5 oz St Germain Elderflower Liquor
- .5 oz. White Creme de Cacao
- .5 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 oz Sparkling wine
- Run cut lemon around rim of cocktail glass.
- Dip rim of glass in raw sugar to decorate and set glass aside while making cocktail.
- To make cocktail, add brandy, elderflower liquor, white creme de cacao and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice.
- Shake hard, then strain cocktail into prepared glass.
- Top strained cocktail with a float of sparkling wine and serve right away.
ABOUT ERICA: What happens when a professional chef turns into a gardening fanatic? Can ‘homemaker’ be a political statement? How self-sufficient can a family be on one-third of an acre in suburban Seattle? Where is the right balance between living cheap and living well? Can one ever have too many rutabagas? How much lawn do growing kids really need when there are fruit trees to be planted? Erica blogs about gardening, cooking, urban homesteading and living slow-ish in the Maritime Northwest.