Two Daring Valentine’s Day Cocktails You Can Make at Home (or Go on a Date For)

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By Nick Vorderman
Do you have a skull bowl for serving? Photo credit: Nick Vorderman.

Those of us who like to shake up a drink or two at home have been getting more daring, but there are still ingredients and glassware that you’ll only find behind some of the city’s best cocktail bars. Take the Perla Negra, created by bartender Jim Kearns at the subterranean Slowly Shirley (a perfect date spot if there ever were one). It calls for activated charcoal, the rare-to-the-U.S. citrus kalamansi and South Asian coconut-flower-based spirit Arrack—and should then be served in a skull bowl. At Pouring Ribbons, Joaquin Simó developed the comparatively simpler Diarmuid & Gráinne, but among its ingredients is Clontarf, a triple-distilled Irish whiskey you may or may not have in your bar cart.

That’s why we’re giving you options: Stay home and make these, or visit the respective bars and let the experts do it. How you spend Valentine’s Day is up to you.

Perla Negra (for two) by Jim Kearns for Slowly Shirley
2 oz Santa Teresa 1796
.5 tsp Activated charcoal
1 oz Kalamansi
1oz Orange juice
.5 oz Honey
.5 oz Ginger
1oz Arrack
Top: 2 oz Sorrel

Vessel: Skull bowl
Ice: Crushed
Method: Add activated charcoal to shaker. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the sorrel. Shake with about three large ice cubes. Strain over crushed ice into vessel. Pack a lit votive candle into the crushed ice on top of the cocktail. Measure and pour the sorrel around the candle.
Garnish: Candle and orchids

Diarmuid & Gráinne by Joaquín Simó of Pouring Ribbons 
Muddle 3 raspberries in:
.5 oz Aperol
.5 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

2 oz Clontarf Irish Whiskey
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Grapefruit Juice

1.5 oz Soda

Method: Shake. Fine-Strain
Glass: Collins
Ice: Shard
Garnish: Skewered lemon wheel and raspberry