We're closing in on Valentine's Day, a holiday you either love or hate. Or love to hate. In my mind, any Valentine cocktail needs to include chocolate, but since we're talking about love, I think it should also include a little bitterness.
Love's great, but often in order to find THE ONE (if you go for that sort of thing) you have to go through a few NOT THE ONES. Which can leave you a little bitter, a little broken, but a little wiser, too. Not all of us have found the love of our life, but most of us have learned a lot on the way.
Think of it this way, without the bitterness, the sweet doesn't seem as sweet, and without any bitterness, the sweetness can overwhelm. Even chocolate's base ingredient, cocoa, that most typical of Valentine's gifts, is bitter and rough without the addition of sugar.
Back to the cocktail. Since we're talking about bitterness, I wanted to include an amaro, a bitter Italian liqueur, and a tiramisu liqueur which had some bitter coffee and chocolate notes to it. Paired with Ballotin's chocolate liqueur and bourbon, they make a glorious chocolatey combination with just a hint of bitterness to round out the flavors.
Love's Bitter Truth
1 1/2 oz Rowan's Creek Bourbon
1/2 oz Amaro
1/2 oz Ballotin Chocolate liqueur
1/2 oz Tiramisu liqueur
5 drops Woodford Reserve's Sorghum and Sassafras bitters
10 drops Scrappy's Chocolate bitters
Garnish: orange twist
Combine all ingredients but the garnish in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well-chilled, 15-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist and possibly a box of chocolate truffles. Meditate on love and the ways you get to who you're with.
Heather Wibbels is a cocktail enthusiast who spends her time thinking about cocktails, researching cocktails and making cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.