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love potions 
valentine's day cocktails for two 
by Yee-Fan Sun

Looking for something a little different to toast your honey with this Valentine's Day? Try one of these luscious cocktails built for two -- and let the potions do their magic.

strawberry kiss
What could be more lovey-dovey romantic than strawberries and cream? This sweet (but not cloyingly so) pink drink takes the classic combo, then adds some vodka and amaretto for kick…

3 oz. vodka
2 oz. amaretto
1 oz. half-and-half
4 good-sized, juicy-ripe strawberries, plus two for garnish
˝-1 tsp sugar (optional)

Zizz the half-and-half and 4 of the strawberries (de-stemmed of course) with a hand-blender or mini food-processor. Taste; if the strawberries seem a bit bland, add ˝-1 tsp. sugar to taste. Shake the strawberry mixture with vodka and amaretto in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain and pour into cocktail glasses, garnish with strawberries and enjoy.

Don't let the sweetness of this drink's vanilla and amaretto flavors fool you; this cocktail packs a punch.

6 oz. vanilla vodka*
2 oz. amaretto
2 strawberries with stems

*To make your own vanilla vodka: Take half a vanilla bean and split it open lengthwise to splay it open; pop into 2 cups of vodka (to do a whole liter of vodka, just use the whole bean, again split lengthwise). Let it sit for 5 days or so, until the flavor has really seeped in (the vodka will have a full vanilla flavor and a rich golden tinge). Remove the bean. Of course, you can also buy vanilla vodka straight off the shelf, but this is a good substitute if you don't want to invest in an entire bottle of the stuff.

Shake the vanilla vodka and amaretto with plenty of ice, then strain and pour into two cocktail glasses. Garnish each with a nice big strawberry.

passion and sparks
The good ol' fashioned bubbly stuff is still a Valentine's Day favorite; pep it up with some exotic passionfruit and a smattering of ripe red raspberries.

Pulp from one ripe passionfruit (look for a crinkly one -- that's how you know it's ripe)
1/2 tsp. honey
well chilled sparkling wine to top off two glasses
a dozen or so raspberries for garnish

Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the pulp into a small bowl. Use a spoon to break up the globby bits as best you can. Remove any large fibrous chunks that won't squash down. Stir in ˝ tsp. of honey. Divide the honeyed fruit into two champagne flutes. Drop in a handful of raspberries in each. Top off each with sparkling wine; stir gently and serve.


more romantic cocktails: 
chocolate martini | bellini | cosmopolitan | think pink pink cocktails

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