Recipe: Valentine Rose (Things in Jars collection)
Sweet, bitter, and sour are all represented in this romantic concoction.
Last year, I read a truly delightful novel called Things In Jars by Jess Kidd, and in addition to making my husband read it and telling all my friends about it, it stuck with me enough that I made a collection of drinks named after three of its characters.
I was going to start with the book’s main character and leading lady, Bridie Devine, as the first in the series, but given the holiday today, I thought her childhood friend and potential suitor, Valentine Rose, would be a great choice.
2oz Four Roses bourbon
0.25oz fresh lemon juice
(Slightly less than) 0.5oz coffee liqueur
1 dash dark walnut bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice; stir, perhaps just a bit more than you would a Manhattan or comparative drink. Strain into a chilled Nick and Nora, or other coupe style glass. Serve.
The first ingredient felt compulsory: Four Roses has become sort of my “house bourbon”; it’s extremely pleasant and balanced for its price point and is almost always available. Its mellow character also felt like a good contrast for one of the other drinks in the collection, the Ruby Doyle, who you’ll be meeting shortly.
So, I had the “Rose” portion of the name covered.
Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur, tends to be a bit cloying and is not typically an ingredient in “serious” cocktails, in my experience. But it perfectly captured the idea of a “Valentine” to me: sweet and fruity, about as complex as a candy heart. (Fun fact: this drink is why I had Chambord in my bar at all for use in the “filling” shot of the Hollywood Handshake.)
With all that softness and sweet, I knew I would need to add some challenging flavors to keep this drink from turning treacly. I had just tasted Hopewell Brewing’s Cold Brew Lemonade sour ale for the first time and was inspired by how incredibly lemon and coffee paired, and I had an inkling they would mesh well with raspberry. Lo and behold, my instinct was correct! I’ve had a bottle of coffee liqueur from CH Distillery’s collaboration with local roaster Dark Matter for ages and never known what to do with it; I’m not really one for “espresso martinis” and the like, so I was thrilled to find a place to use it.
I’m really pleased with how this drink turned out: it definitely has a hint of romance to it, but doesn’t feel over the top.
I hope you get a chance to try it. I’ve made a variant with just a dash of Heirloom Alchermes to add a hint of cinnamon, and while I do enjoy that, I think the original stands well on its own. Please let me know if you make it; I’d love to hear what you think!