Valentine's Day

9 Valentine's Day Cocktails We Simply Adore

Stir up these sips for someone special (yourself included).

January 20, 2023
Photo by Rocky Luten

No matter what your plans are for Valentine's Day this year, pouring a drink or two might be on the menu for the evening. Popping open some bubbles or a bottle of wine is always a safe bet, but if you're looking to shake up something a little extra-special, consider a cocktail.

From festive martinis to berry-hued sips that nod to the holiday's signature shade—here are 9 of our favorite Valentine's Day cocktails, including a few non-alcoholic options, that look and taste impressive.

1. Espresso Martini

The martini of the moment pairs especially perfectly with chocolatey treats, like these fuss-free chocolate truffles, or just as easily doubles as dessert all on its own. This version by chef Elena Besser gets a little flavor upgrade courtesy of a vanilla bean-infused simple syrup.

2. Rum Martinez Cocktail

Rum stands in for the traditional gin in this elegant riff on the Martinez from bartender and writer Harper Fendler. For a garnish that's near-guaranteed to impress, top the finished drink with a fresh sprig of lightly torched rosemary.

3. Pink Coconut Water Cosmopolitan

A splash of pink coconut water, which gets its signature shade from oxidation, gives this simple yet stunning take on the classic cosmo an extra refreshing factor. Serve with a citrus twist in your prettiest coupe glass (like these hand-crafted beauties) for bonus presentation points.

4. Pom Fizz

Meet your bar cart's new BFF for Valentine's Day and beyond: an absurdly easy, one-ingredient pomegranate syrup that couples up nicely with sparkling white wine or Prosecco. Another fizzy pairing (that isn't a Mimosa) to consider: Champagne and strawberry juice.

5. Seedlip Clover Club

The original Clover Club formula gets a booze-free update thanks to Seedlip Garden 108, an herbal non-alcoholic spirit, plus an extra dash of brightness (and showstopping ruby hue) from homemade raspberry syrup.

6. Smoky Pear & Ginger Margarita

With a few ingredient tweaks (in this case, a combination of tequila and mezcal, pear juice, and ginger), one of summer's go-to cocktails becomes cool weather-friendly—and the perfect plus-one to a Valentine's Day meal.

7. Cold Brew Negroni

Further proof that cocktails and coffee go hand in hand, this caffeinated spin on the Negroni from Chloë Callow's Cold Brew Coffee strikes just the right flavor balance.

8. Gin Martini

Tried and true, consider this your guide to making the perfect Martini for you—complete with tips for modifying the recipe to your tastes and handy tools to help you pull it off for date night at home.

9. Blackberry, Mint & Basil Sparkler

Fresh herbs, citrus, and blackberry jam (yep, jam) team up for an effervescent mocktail that doesn't miss the alcohol one bit. That being said, vodka or rum would complement the ingredients if you wanted to swap out the Seedlip for a boozy version.

What will you be sipping this Valentine's Day? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Anonymous
  • Steve
  • laurenlemongrass
Erin Alexander

Written by: Erin Alexander

Erin Alexander is the Managing Editor of Food52.


Anonymous February 1, 2023
Raspberry Royale.
Steve January 22, 2023
"Gin Martini" is redundant. It's like saying Pork Ham.
laurenlemongrass January 24, 2023
Can't martinis also be made with vodka?
Steve January 24, 2023
A Martini is a Gin and dry vermouth cocktail. If It's made with vodka, it is called a Vodka Martini, or a Vodkatini. If you go back to the 40s and that classic cocktail era, the vodka version was called a Kangaroo Kicker, often shortened to a Kangaroo. But that's not used today.

Vodka Martini is similar in how it identifies the spirit swap to the Bourbon Sidecar. A Sidecar is a Cognac/brandy cocktail. But there is a common bourbon spirit swap with it's own name.

Sometimes, the spirit swap is graced with an entirely different name (like Martini and Kangaroo). There is a Negroni. But if you swap the gin for whiskey, you get a Boulevardier.

There are a lot of folks that say Martini when they mean Vodka Martini, and all it does is create confusion. Imagine ordering a Sidecar and not specifying that what you wanted was bourbon. But that is what folks do. And it's gotten so ubiquitous that bartenders have no idea what to make if a customer orders a Martini.

BTW, James Bond is often credited with the popularity of a "Martini made with vodka." But when he himself did order this, he almost always said "Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred"
Shaken give more cooling in the same time, but clouds the drink a bit and adds ice shards for a bit until they melt. It does dilute the drink which might have been his intent.