Sweet as a Kiss or Tainted Love? Pick your Valentine’s Day cocktail

This month, we have two cocktails to treat yourself or your sweetie inspired by the Valentine’s Day Treatsie box!  The first cocktail is inspired by the Quin Cherry Hearts and the sweet, slightly tart taste of a good cherry while the second takes a cue from a modern classic using the Raley’s Hard Candy for a new direction.

Sweet as a Kiss

While easy to find, cherry liqueur is often overlooked in the liquor store.  What would you do with it?  How would you add it to your drinks?  This month, the Quin Cherry Hearts are the perfect reason to grab a bottle and mix up a delightful and sweet cocktail. To balance out some of the sweetness, we used gin and a little bit of Aperol, which is a slightly bitter citrus-flavored liqueur from Italy.  If you don’t have Aperol handy, you can use a triple sec or dry curacao, but you will have a sweeter drink.

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  • 1.5oz. Gin
  • 1.0oz Cherry Liqueur
  • .5oz. Aperol
  • Dash of Sweet Vermouth
  • Cherry Bitters
  • 2 Cherries or Quin Cherry Hearts to garnish

Steps

  1. Fill your mixing tin one-half to two-thirds full of ice and add everything except the garnish.
  2. Stir for a good 30 seconds, keeping your spoon pushed to the outside of the mixing tin so you move the entire contents around in one smooth circle.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with the cherries or Quin Cherry Hearts

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Tainted Love

If you want a more tart cocktail this Valentine’s Day, look at the Raley’s Love Mix of Hard Candies. Inspired by the modern classic, the cosmopolitan, the mixture of infused vodka, good curacao, fresh lime juice, and a splash cranberry juice is the basis for the Tainted Love.  Here, we used the Raley’s Love Mix of Hard Candies in two different ways – once to infuse your vodka and once as a garnish.  Pick the flavors you like the best for the infusion, but try to choose a few sweet and a few tart to give you the best balance of flavors.

Before we dive into the cocktail, we have to make flavored vodka by infusing the Raley’s Hard Candy into the spirit. Vodka is meant to be as flavorless and odorless as possible which means that you can infuse it with flavors easily.  The alcohol will absorb the flavors pretty quickly.  While we have a recipe that calls for a full 24 hours of soaking, you may find your flavored vodka is ready to go in as little as three hours.

Infused Vodka

  • 4-5 Pieces of Raley’s Hard Candy Love Mix
  • 250ml of Vodka
  1. Add the candy to a clean a sterilized jar or bottle and cover with the vodka.
  2. Let sit in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight for at least 3 hours.
  3. When the candy has broken down and the vodka is cloudy, it is ready.   

Before you are ready to make the cocktail, you need to use the Raley’s Hard Candy to make our next garnish.  Like a margarita rimmed with salt or a sidecar rimmed with sugar, this cocktail has an alluring and tasty garnish adhering to the lip of the glass.  The steps are simple enough – you crush a handful of the hard candy using a mortar and pestle, a rolling pin, or other similar method.  Then you place the candy dust in a shallow saucer so you can rim your glass.

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  • 1.5oz Raley’s Hard Candy Infused Vodka
  • .75oz Dry Curacao
  • .5oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • .25oz Cranberry Juice
  • Raley’s Hard Candy Dust for garnish
  • Blood Orange Slice for garnish (optional)

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  1. In a mixing tin or shaker glass, combine the first four ingredients over ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Taking the spent lime wedge or the blood orange wedge, gently run the citrus around the lip of glass as much as you want to coat with the Raley’s Hard Candy Dust.
  4. Roll the citrus rimmed cocktail glass in the shallow saucer of Raley’s Hard Candy Dust to coat
  5. Strain the cocktail into the glass and add the optional garnish.

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Hopefully, these two cocktails will inspire you to experiment with your candy this month and have a beautiful and special Valentine’s Day either sweet or tart!

 

FoF 2007 MeJoel DiPippa is a cocktailian and lover of drinks.  He blogs about cocktails, food, and menswear at SouthernAsh.com.

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