Mary Tutwiler

Liquor is Quicker

by Mary Tutwiler

This Valentine's Day, romantic restaurant bars are the right venue for you if you want to pitch some woo  with your baby Sunday night. Over at Marcello's Wine Market Café, bartenders Tanner Ducoté and Richelle Oliver are shaking up a pair of great cocktails for lovers and lovers of good cocktails. These are libations destined to stay on the drinks menu.

For a tart apéritif, (I mean the drink, not your date) start with Ducoté's "Star-Crossed Lovers," a passion fruit and raspberry cocktail topped with a star you can wish on and eat it too, it's a star fruit garnish. Ducoté starts with a fresh passion fruit and raspberry puree, adds two shots of  vodka, a drib of simple syrup, a drab of hibiscus liquor, a squirt of fresh lime juice and a good splash of cranberry juice. Shake over ice until the shaker frosts up and your fingers start to numb, strain into a small, delicate brandy snifter, and garnish with a golden star fruit slice. The exotic passion fruit and hibiscus contribute deep flavor and a bright freshness. It's very hard to stop at just one. But isn't that the point?

End your dinner with an afterglow brought on by a slow sipper, belly laugh included, Oliver's "Toasted Marshmallow Martini." Actually this drink isn't a martini at all, which is part of its charm. Warm nut flavored liqueurs - almond scented Disaronno Amaretto, Frangelico, flavored with toasted hazlenuts and walnut infused Nocello mix it up with a shot of heavy cream and an egg white. Shake hard over ice to emulsify the egg white, then strain into an up glass (that's where the martini comes in, no vodka in this baby). Now here's the kicker. Marcello's makes its own marshmallows, which are denser, stickier and far sweetly superior to the jet puffed junk you get in a bag. Oliver sticks a toothpick through the marshmallow and toasts it with her handy kitchen blow torch. If that isn't enough fun, get your date to eat the whole toasty gooey thing in one bite. He'll be speechless (for about 10 minutes), opportunity for a passionate, and uninterrupted, oration. The perfect date, no?

Not convinced? Check out our Valentine's Day drink videos.