Valentine’s Day food and drink gift guide: cocktails, gin, fizz and nibbles

It’s time to spoil your partner with a spot of home delivered fine dining, a drinks menu to entice and delight, and a romantic cocktail or two.

TLR’s heart-shaped hot list will ensure you boss the big day like a pro…

Kyrö Pink Gin, romance in a bottle

Kyro Pink Gin bottle on a white background

Ideal for Valentine’s Day, this small batch gin made by the award-winning Finnish all-rye distillery Kyrö, boasts only natural ingredients found in Finnish forests and gardens. Infused with foraged lingonberries, strawberries and rhubarb, it boasts a delicate pink hue and tastes wonderful.

For the perfect romantic serve, mix one part Kyrö Pink Gin, with four parts light tonic water and plenty of ice. Then slice a pink grapefruit to garnish.

The good news is it’s available on next day delivery from £25.95 from Master of Malt and Amazon.

Embrace your passionate side with Luigi Bosca Malbec Seleccion Vistalba 2018 

If you’re looking for a supreme quality red for Valentine’s Day, may we point you towards this sumptuous Malbec by the fine winemakers at Luigi Bosca? Luigi Bosca is in fact one of the oldest wineries in Argentina, and, for the past 120 years, from its vineyard in majestic Mendoza, has been a huge reason why Argentina has become known around the world for its quality wines. If you ask us, there’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a taste of the famously romantic country of tango, passion, wine and red meat. 

This stunning Malbec is an elegant and vibrant red wine, boasting intense yet balanced aromas and distinct juicy dark red fruit and floral notes, as well as an beautifully smooth mouth feel. Pair with a steak at home this Valentine’s day, embrace all the passions of its Argentinian heritage. Date night at home has never been so decadent. 

Luigi Bosca Malbec Seleccion Vistalba 2018 is available from Waitrose for £16.99.

The King of Soho London Dry Gin – bottoms up everyone!

The King of Soho London dry Gin bottle label design

If your taste is a little more hedonistic, then The King of Soho should be right up your West End alley. The ownership of this London Dry can be tracked to Howard Raymond, son of the infamous entrepreneur Paul Raymond, who was long synonymous with the area.

This premium gin features a dozen botanicals, including juniper, grapefruit peel, sweet orange, coriander, angelica root and cassia. The colourful labelling is an equal delight, tipping a hat to Soho’s jazz history and history of creative decadence. Feeling fruity? Consider gifting The King of Soho Variorum Gin, a pink berry edition with notes of strawberry and floral chamomile. 

Both are available from Amazon and Masters of Malt, priced at £29.95, as well as select high street supermarkets.

Noble House Prepared – love at first bite

Impress your partner with a memorable Valentine’s meal at home, from Noble House Prepared.

Choose from Spicy Harissa and Pomegranate Chicken or Chateaubriand Fillet of Beef, complemented by creamy Dauphinoise Potatoes, five Spice Roasted Chantenay Carrots plus tender Broccoli Florets and French Green Beans.

Or perhaps a Vegetarian Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pithivier, matched with Dauphinoise Potatoes and crunchy French Green Beans?

We sampled the Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pithivier and Chateaubriand Fillet of Beef , and were delighted with the quality of the ingredients, the bullet-proof simplicity of the prep and the cornucopia of flavours delivered.

The fillet of grass fed British beef, served with a red wine and garlic jus, was sublimely juicy, and the cheesy butternut squash pithivier, served with sage and onion sauce, was superb. The TLR verdict? Two yums up!

Shop now at Noble House Prepared. Delivery is nationwide excluding Scottish Highlands, Northern Ireland and all the UK Islands.

For feel-good bubbles: Whisp hard seltzer 

Hard seltzer is one of the biggest drinks trends right now – and Whisp is one beautifully gift-ready way to get on board. Available in both refreshing Cucumber & Mint and the delicately fruity Raspberry & Elderflower, not only are these crisp coolers delicious, but they’re 100% vegan and gluten-free, with all naturally and sustainably sourced British ingredients, and no added sugar, sweeteners or preservatives. Whisp drinks even contain added milk thistle, which is handily a detox hero, and helps to support a healthy liver. Enjoy straight from the can, or poured over ice and garnished with an aromatic sprig of mint or slice of lemon. 

You can order a pack of four for £10 from Whisp Drinks now.

For something a little different: Regal Rogue Wild Rosé

Now, this is a beautiful Valentine’s gift. An incredibly versatile tipple to add to your home bar, Regal Rogue is a quaffing vermouth made with 100% organic wine botanicals – the most sustainable of its kind on the market. This Australian vermouth combines a dry organic Cabernet Rosé with native Illawarra plums, rosella, strawberry gum, fruit spice, and rhubarb. Mix with lemonade for a simple yet sophisticated spritz, or with Prosecco and Aperol for a delicious Valentine’s aperitif. 

Add Regal Rogue to your home bar now for £19.70 from Master of Malt.

Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie – Making the perfect Valentine’s Day Negroni

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with Salcombe’s Rosé Sainte Marie gin. It’s a delicately flavoured gin crafted to emulate the qualities of a dry rosé wine. Dry, with no added sugar, it looks the part in a gentle shade of pink. ABV is 41.4%.

Appropriately, the South Devon based distillery suggests the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail, the distinctly romantic Rosé Negroni. This intimate mix of slightly citrus dry gin and rosé vermouth makes for a deliciously sweet and fruity serve.

To make a Rosé Negroni, you’ll need 25ml Salcombe Rosé Sainte Marie gin, 25ml Londinio Rosé Vermouth, 25ml Londinio Aperitivo and lemon peel for garnish.

Combine the gin, vermouth, aperitivo in a mixing glass with plenty of ice and stir (not shake) gently (no bubbles desired). Then strain into a chilled Nick & Nora cocktail glass, and garnish with the peel on the side.

How to make a Salcombe gin Rosé Negroni

Alternatively, serve in classic G&T style with 1:3 gin/tonic measure, and garnish with a slice of seville orange, which proves a joyous complement to the gin’s orange blossom and lemon verbena botanicals. You can buy it here for £40.

Enjoy bar-quality cocktails at home with the NIO Cocktails’ Experience Box 

Share a perfectly prepared, bar-quality drink at home this Valentine’s Day thanks to NIO, the high end cocktail creators whose drinks can be delivered straight to your door. With its name literally standing for ‘Needs Ice Only’, NIOs’ expertly crafted cocktails come fully ready-to-drink, in sachets that you simply tear and pour.

For Valentine’s Day, turn your attention to the romantic Love Cocktail set, a seductive presentation pack of two heavy-bottomed glass tumblers, and four cocktails.

We’ve sampled our fair share of pre-mixed cocktails of late, and NIO’s are our favourites; the most similar experience to a handcrafted bar cocktail on the market. 

Order the Love Cocktail set for £35 at niococktails.co.uk.

Spice up Valentine’s with Sipsmith Chilli and Lime Gin

No matter how well your mixology skills are coming along in lockdown, the thing with at-home drinking and dining is that you’re less likely to stumble across new favourites. So, treat your Valentine to something to liven up their tired tastebuds with Sipsmith’s highly drinkable chilli and lime gin. 

Crafted by Sipsmith’s talented distillers on their original London Dry Gin base, this new take on a classic gin pairs lime zest with seven different fruity and complex chillies from around the world – the result is fresh and zingy, with the perfect balance of bright citrus to cut through the heat.

With a fun spirit like this, you need only add a couple of ingredients to create new and exciting cocktails, like a gin-based take on a margarita, or simply use to give a zesty twist to your favourite G&T.

Sipsmith’s Chilli and Lime Gin is available now from Amazon, priced £28.49.

Tuck into artisanal bakes from Jack and Beyond 

Whether you want to send them as a gift, or order them in for you and your Valentine to enjoy, the baked delights from Fulham-based Jack and Beyond make a unique – and delicious – alternative to a box of chocolates.

We can whole-heartedly recommend the London bakery’s artisanal, heart-shaped take on a jammy dodger, made with strawberry jam and decadent buttercream frosting, sandwiched between vanilla shortbread, as well as their red velvet brownies, made with luxurious dark Callebaut chocolate for a smooth and creamy texture, with a beautiful red pattern on top for a festive finish. 

Order from Jackandbeyond.com.

Cotton Gin, from the Yorkshire Dales with love

Cotton gin – an homage to green fields

With Yorkshire Watercress, English Coriander, local spruce, rowan berries, nettle leaves and mint, Cotton Gin is the nearest most of us will get to the Yorkshire Dales any time soon. The creation of husband-and-wife teams Nicola and Dougie Lampkin MBE, and Alexa and Chris Ives, it offers a herbaceous nose, is smooth on the palate, and hints of citrus and pine. A fresher taste you’ll struggle to find.

First distilled in lockdown, and a sprightly Gold winner at The Gin Masters 2020, Cotton Gin is a gift of a new premium small-batch gin, a homage to green fields and the English countryside. 

The distiller suggests the perfect Cotton Gin serve is a double shot of Cotton, mixed with 150 ml of premium Indian Tonic water, a spring of rosemary and a ribbon of lemon peel. Alternatively, we’d suggest a Cotton Martini, with dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters with a twist of lemon peel to garnish.  
Cotton Gin (44% ABV) sells for £37.95 for 70cl, or £14.95 for 20cl, and can be purchased here.

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