Twenty-first century Valentine’s Day is actually a modern rehash of ancient Roman matchmaking shenanigans (Lupercalia) overlayered with a splash of Christian martyrdom and topped with a light sprinkling of Shakespearean stardust.
It’s easy to see why this fundamentally pagan festival might have been co-opted as a day of romantic celebration, as it neatly occupies an otherwise grim timeslot between Christmas and Easter (for those of us in the northern hemisphere, at least).
We’ll admit it’s got a Marmite vibe: you’re either uplifted by the unabashed romance of it all or believe it’s part of a cynical plot by greeting card designers looking for a way to tide them over a seasonal slump (there could be a correlation between which side of the fence you’re on and the volume of St Valentine cards you’re expecting to fall through your letterbox).
Let’s imagine you’re on the fence: maybe you don’t feel moved to hire an orchestra but think it’s worth at least tipping your hat to the gods of true love with a romantic gesture. How about ditching the (overpriced) flowers and chocs for a few well-chosen Valentine’s Day cocktails?
You can’t go wrong with champagne, especially if it’s pink: it’s frivolous, extravagant and timeless – the ideal partner for smoked salmon blinis or chocolate-dipped strawberries. If you’d like something that hits the same notes, without the eye-watering price tag, consider adding a measure of sloe gin or Chambord black raspberry liqueur to regular champagne or prosecco for a contemporary take on a trusted romantic trope.
Sex and the City
Viewers loved following the big-city adventures of this genre-busting 90s HBO sitcom hit, but the oft-quaffed Cosmopolitan was arguably the breakout star of the show, quickly becoming the de facto choice for sophisticates everywhere on a glamorous night out. Its romantic appeal is obvious – a blend of citrus vodka and Cointreau with a splash of lime for extra zing and a measure of cranberry juice that lends a pleasing, Valentine-friendly ruby hue.
Pastel pink perfection
Everyone loves a Martini – the no-nonsense marriage of gin-and-vermouth makes it one of the all-time greats. And yet, by simply introducing a fragrant infusion of tropical fruit, you can transform this bona fide classic into a more playful, romance-forward concoction altogether. We suggest substituting vodka for gin and pairing it with passionfruit puree/liqueur to create a Pornstar Martini or with lychee puree/liqueur for a Lychee Martini.
Naturally, choosing a box of cocktails from Edmunds means you can enjoy all the kudos with none of the fuss. What’s not to love?