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8 Valentine’s Day Cocktails to Fall in Love With

Skip the Champagne and go with one of these instead


Level 2's Oro Rosa cocktail | Photo: Brogan Jessup

A number of bars and restaurants are serving up creative cocktails befitting the holiday. Here are six that got my attention.


Oro Rosa @ George’s at the Cove / Level 2

Back in December, on San Diego Magazine’s convivial Happy Half Hour podcast, Troy Johnson and I sang the praises of George’s at the Cove’s Stephen Kurpinsky. Try one of the highlights of his newest menu, made with rose-infused mezcal, smoked lime, maraschino liqueur, Green Chartreuse, and a gentian root tincture.


Heart Shaped Glass @ Campfire

Campfire’s Leigh Lecap makes some tasty cocktails using charred and roasted veggies. This one—made with white rum, roasted beets, Crème de Cacao, lemon, and strawberry, with black sesame garnish—hits all the right notes.

Campfire's Heart Shaped Glass


Man of His Word @ The Nolen

Grab a rooftop seat and sip on this rich, spiced cocktail made with bourbon, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, allspice, cinnamon, rosemary, and chocolate bitters.


Hot in the Dark @ True Food Kitchen

True Food’s offering a special V-Day menu February 10-14. I’m a sucker for anything served in a coupe glass. Add a little heat, even better. This twist on a Paloma is made with Ixá organic tequila, jalapeño, lime, and pomegranate juice.


Rose & Crown @ Bankers Hill

Two words: pistachio orgeat. Tiki cocktails’ secret ingredient—pronounced or-zha—is usually made with almonds and orange-flower water. Here, Bar Manager Zack Gray uses pistachios and rosewater for an orgeat that he adds to gin and fresh lemon juice for a tasty take on a classic Army & Navy cocktail.


Crime of Passion @ Sycamore Den

Two more words: passion fruit. It’s a magical ingredient. Jesse Ross’s gin-based cocktail (which also includes orgeat), gets some kick from a sprinkle of cayenne.


Dirty Cuddle Tini @ Ironside

Meagan Crumpley’s special Valentine’s Day dirty martini is served jet-black, thanks to cuddle fish ink. Consortium Holdings beverage director Anthony Schmidt describes it as "equal parts bizarre and legendary."


El Pinar @ Starlite

One of four special Valentine's Day cocktails by the dynamic bartending duo of Dmitri Dziensuwski and Jack Reynolds, this one is made with mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Licor 43, and lime.

Got ideas for a future post? Write 2kellydavis@gmail.com.

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