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Sure, flowers and chocolate are nice. But this Valentine’s Day, impress your sweetheart and mix things up with a romantic cocktail. From a blissfully bubbly concoction to a seductively pink elixir, these drinks from some of the South’s top mixologists are sure to set the mood.

Cha Cha Cha from The Cocktail Club

479 King St., Charleston, SC 29403 • (843) 724-9411

This swanky King Street lounge has been serving this spicy-meets-sweet cocktail at their annual Jilted Lover Affair party since it began, making it a favorite for the romantic holiday. They describe it as sweet, but with a kick — just like love can be.

Cha Cha Cha recipe:

  • 1.5 ounces Agavales Repasado
  • .5 ounce Ancho Reyes
  • .25 ounce coffee simple syrup
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters

DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and shake. Serve over large ice cubes in a small rocks glass. Garnish with chili powder.

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Austin Cider at The Punch Room

201 E. Trade St., Charlotte, NC 28202 • (704) 547-2244

Prefer to keep your holiday celebration simple? After all, it’s your Valentine who should be getting the attention. This easy recipe from mixologist Bob Peters at The Punch Room in Charlotte, NC, is perfect for the novice behind the bar who wants something sweet and bubbly to toast their love.

The Austin Cider Image: Justin Driscoll

Austin Cider hails from The Punch Room in Charlotte, NC. Image: Justin Driscoll

Austin Cider recipe:

  • 1 ounce Tito’s vodka
  • 2 ounces organic apple cider
  • Champagne
  • Apple slice

DIRECTIONS: Mix the vodka and apple cider, and top with Champagne. Garnish with the apple slice.

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The Overnight Sensation from Bourbon Bar

3315 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30326 • (404) 946-9070

This luscious, berry-filled drink, created by mixologist Michael Magnole, is served shaken and chilled. Make a romantic toast to start the night right with this fruity mixture.

The Overnight Sensation recipe:

  • 3 raspberries
  • 2 ounces Absolut Elyx
  • .5 ounce simple syrup
  • .5 ounce lime juice
  • 5 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 blackberry

DIRECTIONS: Muddle berries in a mixing glass. Combine all ingredients in glass over ice. Shake vigorously. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with the blackberry.

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The Bourbini from Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar

127 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 587-1626

For a Valentine’s evening that seriously sparkles, Doc Crow bartender Kerri Smith suggests this festive cocktail made with sparkling wine and — because this is Kentucky, after all — bourbon.

The Bourbini | Image: Jesse Hendrix-Inman

The Bourbini | Image: Jesse Hendrix-Inman

The Bourbini recipe:

  • 1 ounce Heaven Hill 6 Year Bourbon
  • 2 dashes peach bitters
  • .5 ounce Mathilde Peche peach liqueur
  • Sparkling wine
  • Sprig of mint

DIRECTIONS: Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a flute, top with sparkling wine and garnish with a sprig of mint.

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The Pink Lady from Fox Liquor Bar

237 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601 • (919) 322-0128

For the sophisticated romantic, this pink drink is the perfect treat. Lemon juice and Applejack make for a refreshing mix of bright flavors, ideal for sipping with your sweetie.

The Pink Lady recipe:

  • 1 egg white
  • .75 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • .75 ounce grenadine*
  • 1 ounce Bonded Applejack
  • 1 ounce London dry gin (such as Beefeater)

DIRECTIONS: In a shaking tin, add the egg white, lemon juice, grenadine, Applejack and gin. Shake (without ice) to emulsify the ingredients for about 20 seconds. Fill the shaker with ice and shake again until the outside of the shaker is frosty and ice cold. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a chilled coupe and serve.

*You can purchase premade grenadine, but Fox Liquor Bar uses the housemade grenadine below.

Grenadine recipe:

  • 3 cups simple syrup
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
  • .5 ounce orange blossom water
  • 3 drops red food coloring

DIRECTIONS: Mix the ingredients together until completely combined. Transfer into a bottle and chill until ready to use.

red heart Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours! red heart

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