If you are hoping for a romantic evening on February 14th, may I suggest you skip the fancy restaurant reservation and start planning a dinner at home? Your valentine will thank you. Cooking a meal for someone is surely an act of love, a marvelous way to show your affection.
You can customize the dinner to suit the desires of your particular valentine. Have you fallen for a vegetarian? Prepare him a fritto misto feast, and he'll swoon with joy. Crushing on a carnivore? Steak with red wine sauce is the answer (and the way to her heart). Or perhaps you are celebrating the love you have for your entire family -- all of you under one roof. In that case, whip up an extra large batch of chocolate-dipped strawberries.
No matter whom you celebrate with on Valentine's Day, make it a night in. If it'll just be you alone, cook your favorite, most indulgent meal, and start things off right with this cocktail.
1 ounce gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet red vermouth
Orange, for garnish
Fill a short glass with ice cubes. Pour in the gin, Campari, and vermouth, and stir well. Using a small knife, cut a long, narrow strip of the orange peel, pressing the knife lightly so as to avoid the bitter white pith. Twist the peel into a curlicue over the glass, then drop it into the drink.
Note: I love Terroir Gin (distilled by St. George Spirits) for its evocative aromatics: coastal sage, California bay laurel, and Douglas fir. For excellent sweet red vermouth, try Carpano Antica Formula, a robust, dark, and not overly sweet option.