Valentines Day Cocktails: Five Bartenders


Valentines Day, often contested as a “hallmark holiday”, sees the prices of chocolate, candy and tiny little stuffed bears rise, like blood levels of those not buying into it. Flower shops in the city are lined with people racing to grab something for their loved one or a prospective crush, and restaurants fill with couples taking a night off to pay homage to their relationship. While it may seem an odd concept to some that one specific day is meant to celebrate love, the fact is, like it or not, February 14th is now a prominent calendar holiday that you cannot escape. Five local bartenders have offered their suggestions on inventive combinations to mix for the perfect drink. Whether drinking to celebrate and relish in love, or drinking to escape it, these delectable libations will ensure that this Valentines Day is one to remember (unless you want to forget – in which case try all five, twice).


For Josh Boudreau, bartender at Veneto, a cocktail should evoke a certain feeling, appeal to the palate and be part of an overall experience. This Valentines Day, Boudreau has crafted a cocktail dedicated to the lone wolf, the single searcher looking for a drink that warms a cold night and builds up the confidence to confront the streets, littered with love. It’s bold, it’s spicy, its texture is silky, and it has enough tequila to make you look twice at the other single across the bar.



– 2 oz el Jimador Blanco Tequila

– 1/2 oz thai chilli infused white chocolate syrup (2 fresh thai chillis, chopped and heated in two cups of Giffard Chocolat Syrup)

– 1 oz fresh lime juice

– egg white (provides body and texture)


Shake well with ice, strain, and serve in favourite glass. Sprinkle smoked paprika for romantic colouring and smoky aroma.

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Josh Boudreau: Veneto

1450 Douglas Street


The inspiration for a Valentines Day cocktail from Ian Murray, bartender at Vis-a-Vis, stems from a popular Valentines Day candy, cinnamon hearts,. For those going through a breakup or those single folks having a drink, like the burn in your heart, Blue as Your Blood provides unrivalled heat.



– 1 oz. Bulleit Bourbon

– 1 oz. Blood orange/habanero chilli simply syrup

– 3 oz. Prosecco


Garnished with a blood orange twist and served in a champagne flute, the elegant presentation should not mistake this for a gentle drink. The punch of chilli and the strength of the bourbon may lead to watering eyes, because of course, that’s why you’ll be crying at the bar – right?


eatmagad2_1Ian Murray: Vis-a-Vis

2232 Oak Bay Avenue


Personal preference and the fact that it doesn’t carry a sweetness like other bourbons, is why Stephen Quigley, bartender at Stage in Fernwood, decided to base his Valentines Day cocktail around Jameson Whiskey. The Drunken Lover, so aptly named for its way of appealing to both the loners and the lovers, carries a depth, central to any relationship, yet finishes with a notably bitter twist – for those drinkers trying to avoid the holiday.



– 1.5 oz Jameson

– 1/4 oz Campari

– 1/4 Cinzano Orancio


Stirred over ice and strained into a chilled glass, the Campari offers a seasonal red colouring, with the Orancio bringing out the bitter sweet edge.


Whistler chocolate_1Stephen Quigley: Stage

1307 Gladstone Avenue


As some may be craving a sip of the sweeter side of Valentines Day, Lee Snider from Fiamo Italian Kitchen has blended together a clean and crisp drink.  A hearty amount of Bombay Sapphire Gin and the mixture of cucumber and mint muddled with lime and simple syrup are what make up The Frisky Brit. The botanicals of the gin and the fragrance of the mint, will leave you smelling of a garden, and keep you fresh for an evening of close conversation and kisses.



– 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin

– 4 thin slices cucumber

– 6-8 fresh mint leaves

– 1/4 oz. Simple syrup

– juice of 1/2 a lime

– splash of soda

– splash of grapefruit bitters


Lee Snider: Fiamo Italian Kitchen

515 Yates Street


Shawn Soole, Bar Manager and Executive Barkeep at Clive’s, has designed a cocktail befitting for women, either accompanying a partner or heading out for a night with girlfriends. In any case, this drink sparkles, has a softer side and sweetens any evening with its flowery nose. The Lokum Royal is shaken and then strained into a house made cacao liqueur rinsed glass and topped with sparkling and a lemon twist.



– 1 oz. Beefeater 24 Gin

– 1/2 oz house made grenadine

– 4 dashes Orange Flower water

– 3/4 lemon juice


Shawn Soole: Clive’s Classic Lounge

740 Burdett Avenue



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