Nothing says “I love you” like a night of perfectly paired drinks and food in the comfort of your own home. Skip the rookie move of going out to a crowded restaurant; be adventurous and do something different by staying in with your love on Valentine’s Day. Let these experts guide you through a night in with precisely chosen pairings and favorite songs to set the mood.
Jana Daisy-Ensign | Co-Founder of Pomme Boots Society
Course 1: Cheese with Cider
The Perfect Pairing: Port Townsend Creamery Red Alder Toma with Finnriver Oak & Apple
“Bright, organic Washington apples ferment brilliantly,” Daisy-Ensign says. “Oak aging [in] High West Distilling barrels impart warmth and the depth of wood with a lingering hint of vanilla that is complemented by the complexities of firm, hand-washed, aged cheese which boasts its own nutty, fruity and toasted caramel flavors. Better than a bouquet, it’s cider and cheese!”
Song to Set the Mood: “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti
Sip’s Pro Tip: Instead of playing the guessing game with a cider to use for this course, pick up some of Finnriver’s cider here and walk away with confidence that you have the advice of an expert.
Dan Casto | Bartender at Double Dragon
Course 2: Salad with Cocktails
The Perfect Pairing: Arugula with Asian Pear Salad with “Easy Lover” Cocktail
“A salad might be the only time during a meal that you can get away with something shaken,” Casto says. “A bright and effervescent cocktail pairs really well with crunchy, acidic greens. Our Easy Lover cocktail can be made with almost any base spirit, and is a great starting point for a boozy dinner.”
1 1/2 ounces bourbon (or pisco, apple brandy, gin, vodka, etc.)
1.2 ounce Aperol
3/4 ounce lemon
1/2 ounce grapefruit
1/2 ounce honey syrup (2 parts honey to 1 part hot water)
1/2 ounce ginger syrup*
1 1/2 ounces sparkling wine
Add all ingredients except for Champagne to a mixing tin, add ice, and shake. Add Champagne, and double strain over a large rock. Garnish with an orange twist.
*For ginger syrup, add 1 part chopped ginger to 3 parts sugars and 3 parts water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve, remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes for straining.
Song to Set the Mood: “Rock Your Baby” by George McCrae
Sip’s Pro Tip: If Asian pears aren’t your thing, try creating a pop of color with green apples, pomegranate seeds or strawberries for a fun and acidic twist.
Scott Timms | Production Manager at Falling Sky Brewery
Course 3: Entree with Beer
The Perfect Pairing: Brown Buttered Pork Chops with Falling Sky Daywalker Irish Red
“Falling Sky Daywalker Irish Red, a traditional red ale, pairs amazingly well with Pork Chops and a lot of love,” Timms says. “Nothing makes you feel this triumvirate like Valentines.”
Song to Set the Mood: “Ava Adore” by Smashing Pumpkins
Sip’s Pro Tip: Sauté some apples and onions together in butter and garlic for the perfect pork chop topper.
Pat Allan | Co-Owner/Sommelier, The Salted Vine Kitchen + Bar
Course Four: Digestif with Dessert
The Perfect Pairing: Lemon Tart with Raspberry Coulis with Gillespie’s Fine Spirits Lemoncello
“My preferred Valentine’s day dessert would be a lemon tart in a sweet pastry with raspberry coulis,” Allen says. “Thinking outside the box, I would pair this with chilled Gillespie’s lemoncello instead of a wine. This digestif is made locally in Squamish by using the rind of organic lemons. It is wonderfully fresh and true to the lemon without being overly sweet or heavy. It pairs beautifully with the lemon tart with raspberry coulis or it can be sipped on its own.”
Song to Set the Mood: “Yellow” by Coldplay
Sip’s Pro Tip: Finish making the lemon tart before the dinner even begins to guarantee yourself a mistake-free and perfectly timed dessert round.