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6:00am Saturday 8th February 2014 in Lifestyle
Fancy a drink? Our drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris celebrates Valentine's Day with some pretty pinks.
Pink drinks to fall in love with
Whether you're reserving a table in a chic restaurant, or staying home for a romantic dinner, a pink cocktail or rose-tinted glass of fizz will undoubtedly be on the menu on February 14.
Here are some perfect picks to set that Valentine's mood:
:: Romantic port of call
Fresh and vibrant, Croft Pink, Portugal (£10.76, 75cl, www.thedrinkshop.com) is a pink port from the Douro Valley that can be served straight over ice for a delicious aperitif, or mixed with champagne to enhance the raspberry aromas and complement the cherry flavours and fruity palate. Here's a classy cocktail to impress any date.
Love potion No9
50ml Croft Pink, 25ml lemon juice, 10ml simple sugar syrup (1:1), 3 raspberries, 6 mint leaves (one to garnish), champagne
Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the Croft Pink, lemon juice, sugar syrup, raspberries and five mint leaves. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.
:: Strawberries and cream
With its striking black packaging and fuchsia pink rose on the label, Tequila Rose (£16.65, 70cl, 15% abv, www.thedrinkshop.com) surely pulls at the heart strings. A strawberry flavoured cream liqueur with Mexican tequila in the mix, it's a seductive shot for sweet tooths who like to experiment with exotic flavours. Here's a potion that promises a passionate start to the evening.
50ml Tequila Rose, 30ml black raspberry liqueur, fresh strawberry
Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the ingredients, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.
:: Fresh bouquet
The South African winelands are home to estates such as Zorgvliet Lodge and Stellenbosch (on theme, they even have a wedding chapel). You don't need to take the lengthy flight though, Zorgvliet Enigma Sauvignon Blanc Rose 2013, South Africa (£7.99, Sainsbury's) is lively blend of sauvignon blanc with a smidgen of cabernet franc to perk up the gooseberry and kiwi flavours.
:: Postcard from Provence
The Cote d'Azur is famous for its pale Provencal roses and appealing raspberry scented styles, summed up in Domaine de Paris Rose 2012, France (£9.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk) - sip and imagine the syrah (shiraz) and grenache grapes ripening under azure blue skies. The delicate hue, in a traditional 'corset' shape bottle, has a dry, minerally profile with a good concentration of berry fruits.
:: Fruity fun
A wash of pale pink, limited edition Codorniu NV Rosado Brut, Spain (£8.99, Sainsbury's) is dotted with tiny pink hearts, sure to inspire even the most reluctant romantics. This delightful tasting cava is from Barcelona's best, with wafting aromas of summer fruits leading to a biscuity note - perfect for a candlelit dinner.
:: Coming up roses
Champagne Jacquart produce impeccable but competitively priced wines, and Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaique Rose with Gift Box, France (£30 from £35 during the month of February, www.greatwesternwine.co.uk) is one of their best examples. A charming pale salmon pink that's fragrant and floral with plenty of cherry fruit and raspberries and good mineralilty on the finish, it's a delicious partner with a starter of dressed crab.
:: Forever blowing bubbles
A great aperitif champagne from one of the few remaining family-owned Champagne houses, Taittinger Prestige Rose NV, France (£47.99, Waitrose) certainly looks the part with big, beautiful bubbles embossed on the gift box. Fresh and lively with crisp grapefruit aromas and subtle red fruits, even non-rose lovers will be tempted by the lively palate, slightly citrusy and anything but sweet.
:: Work of art
Veuve Clicquot Veuve Rose Shakkei Flute Pack, France (£75, www.harveynichols.com) is dressed to impress. The Japanese inspired goody bag unfolds like a kimono to reveal the contents: an elegant bottle of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rose and two bespoke Veuve Clicquot champagne flutes. Enjoy the refreshing, deep cherry fruits and hint of spice on the long, stylish finish, and raise a toast to your happiness.
:: Best buy
Top talent... If you fancy sipping with the stars on BAFTA night (Sunday, February 16), you don't need to walk the red carpet.
Plan your own party at home, and serve Villa Maria wines, one of the official BAFTA's sponsors.
Try Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (£10.99, major supermarkets nationwide) and Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, New Zealand (£12.99, Majestic), both of which will be gracing all the VIP tables at the real event.
:: Liquid news
A vine view... If you fancy turning on and tuning into the world of wine, The Essential Guide to Wine Tasting, The Ideal Life Collection DVD (£14.99, www.stitchcombe.co.uk) is a good place to start.
Wine expert Jaspar Corbett shares his knowledge in a simple and easy to understand manner (not too manHy technical terms), and is sure to engage beginners. Fun and inspiring, it will help you choose the wines you really want to drink.
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