By Julianna Hayes
Kelowna Daily Courier
Call me cynical, but I think Valentine’s Day is a crock of hooey.
Its roots seem honorable enough – said to commemorate medieval saints by the same name – ironically with no links to romance, let alone candied hearts and greeting cards.
Yet over the centuries, February 14th has somehow morphed into an overhyped commercialized spendfest, rivaled only by Christmas. As the day approaches, couples around the globe, many of whom spend the better part of the year depleting each other’s love bank, seek inspiration on how to fill it.
A lot of people will fall back on Hallmark and 1-800-FLOWERS to deliver their message – but many have a sense of ennui about the usual trappings associated to Valentine’s Day.
In the week leading up to V-Day, my email inbox has been peppered with queries from folks wanting suggestions on wines that say “I love you” – but all the requests have been the same – they’re hankering for something “different.”
Please don’t suggest Champagne,” wrote “Alice” in Penticton. “I know Champagne and romance are suppose to go hand in hand – but don’t you think it’s overdone and a bit boring?”
Personally, I don’t think sparkling wine can ever be overdone and boring. In fact, I think people don’t indulge in the bubble enough – except, of course, on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. So I hear you, Alice.
I’m going to suggest sparking wine anyway, but with a twist. One of the latest trends in drinks are wine cocktails, particularly using bubble whose effervescence gives mixed concoctions a refreshing lift.
At the recent Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine, there was a Mixology Face-off, in which Globe Café & Tapas bartender Damon Newport took the Judge’s Choice Award with a Black Forest Cake Martini featuring Summerhill Pyramid Winery ice wine and bubble and chocolate covered cherries.
That combination shouts romance to me and it gives lovers the twist they so crave. With that in mind, I’ve assembled a list of sensual cocktails and martinis featuring B.C. sparkling wines that should put couples in the mood on V-Day. The sparkling wines provided in these love potions are just suggestions – they can be swapped out for others if necessary.
Black Forest Cake Martini
Soak maraschino cherries in 151 rum overnight.
Coat a few of the rum soaked cherries in dark chocolate and chill to harden the chocolate.
Rim martini glass with crème de cacao and dark chocolate shavings.
Press rum soaked cherries, and combine the resulting liqueur with Summerhill’s Chalice in equal parts.
Add a dash of crème de cacao and shake over ice.
Pour into prepared martini glass and shower with Cipes Brut.
Garnish with chocolate covered rum soaked cherries.
Chanel No. 6
Pour 1 oz vodka, 1 oz Chambord, and 1 oz chilled pineapple juice into a champagne glass.
Top with well-chilled Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut.
Add a fresh raspberry.
Midnight Kiss Cocktail
Rim the edge of a wine glass with white or gold sugar.
Pour 3/4 oz. well-chilled vodka into the glass, and fill with See You Later Ranch Brut.
Top with a splash of Blue Curaçao.
Pour 1 oz of Grand Marnier and 1-1/2 oz of chilled cranberry juice into a martini glass.
Top with well-chilled Road 13 Chenin Blanc Sparkling Wine.
Add an orange twist and a fresh sprig of mint as garnish.
Fill tall champagne flute halfway with a chilled stout beer like Guinness.
Float sparkling wine on top of the stout by pouring it over a spoon turned upside down over the top of the glass so that the liquid runs gently down the sides. The differing densities of the liquids cause them to remain largely in separate layers.
Combine 1 oz Victoria Gin, 1 oz Elephant Island Apricot Dessert Wine, and 1 oz squeezed fresh lemon juice (approx 1/2 lemon) in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass until ¾ full.
Top with a splash of Sumac Ridge Stellar’s Jay Brut.
Shake and strain 1 part St. Germain elderflower liqueur, 2 parts vodka, 3/4 part fresh lemon juice, 1/4 shot simple syrup, 1 part muddled strawberry and pour into martini glass.
Top with Gray Monk Odyssey Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
Garnish with strawberry.