My mom’s nickname for me is Valentina, so I’ve always had a special affection for Valentine’s Day. Even with my cosmic-cupid connection, I’m usually running around last minute trying to think up something to gift—until this year.
Side note: Why are men so hard to buy for? I grew up with a hard to buy for father and married an even harder to buy for husband. Maybe it’s me?
Inspired by some recent finds and the upcoming return of Mad Men, I’m planning to outfit my own Don Draper this Valentine’s Day with some great old school bar items.
This two volume set (one for her and one for him) written by the master chef Daniel Boulud and his mixologist in residence Xavier Herit is filled with incredible cocktail and amuse-bouche/appetizer recipes. Both books are presented in a sexy, sophisticated way that makes me want to bust out my black wool wide brimmed hat and slide on some stacked spectators.
OK, first I need to get the joke out of the way—Hopefully, these will be the only blue balls you experience on Valentine’s Day. These large ice balls, a Japanese import, definitely make your drinks look cool, but also keep them really cold too. One big sphere in your glass melts slower than a bunch of ice cubes. More than anything, they just look fantastic.
Tip: A smart friend told me to make my ice balls with boiling water to have crystal clear balls instead of cloudy. I tried this method last night and it didn’t really work for me but maybe you will have better luck.
Who invented these? I imagine a group of Indian Princess dads out on a camp-out wanting to add a little chill to their secret flask stash. My husband likes his scotch neat, but cool. Made of soapstone, these non-porous square stones have no chemical reaction with water and alcohol; they are odorless and tasteless too, so they won’t dilute the flavor of your drink.
Gosh, I’m late to the party on these; I just made my first purchase of bitters. Recently, when we were in NYC all the fabulous bars had amazing bitters selections. These little bottles not only look super cool lined up in your bar, but the incredible flavors, such as orange, grapefruit and original, are such an easy way to elevate your cocktails— it’s certainly going to give a little boost to my gin.
The label says that you can also use them to flavor cake frosting, sauces, milkshakes, sodas and juleps. Hmm…we might just have to try that out (stay tuned).
Coming soon… Valentina’s day menu. Have a wonderful weekend!