Love Potions

Red hot cocktail inspiration to help shake things up this month.

When the temperatures drop in Charleston, there's nothing better than staying home with friends and keeping warm by shaking up some fun, inspired cocktails. Sure, it's easy to reach for a bottle of pre-made mix but there's something especially enticing about crafting your own beverages from scratch - from fresh ingredients that you selected and measured yourself. The flavor payoff, in the end, will always be bigger, as you can control exactly how your handmade sippers taste. 

February calls for seasonal ingredients and garnishes (think cranberries, pomegranates, and citrus) and even a hot drink to stand up to the chilly temperatures. Because we've never met a theme we didn't love, we've rounded up a selection of delicious, red-hued libations that we adore. Recipes for each drink featured abound online, and are no more than a quick internet search away. 

Idea 1: The Love Potion

Beautiful, easy to make, and admittedly perfect for Valentine's Day, the Love Potion cocktail is made with vodka, peach schnapps, and ruby red grapefruit juice. A cheeky heart-shaped blood-orange slice isn't necessary, but definitely completes the effect.

Idea 2: The Cosmopolitan

Informally known as a "cosmo," this iconic cocktail is made with vodka, Cointreau or Triple Sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice.

Idea 3: Kir Royale

Want an easy, two-ingredient cocktail that’s both festive and sophisticated? Look no further than a Kir Royale! This beloved French cocktail features black currant liqueur and sparkling wine. Plus? Plump red berries and bubbles are a match made in heaven.  

Idea 4: Cranberry Bourbon Blizzard

A frosty combination of cranberry juice, smoky-sweet bourbon, fresh lemon, and simple syrup makes for a special, well-balanced take on a classic bourbon cocktail that even non-bourbon lovers tend to enjoy. 

Idea 5: Classic Mulled Wine

Looking for a beverage that will warm you up from head to toe? A classic mulled (red, red) wine is tough to beat. With warming spices like cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla, you can customize your version till your heart's content. Plus? Your house will smell absolutely amazing as it simmers away. 

Idea 6: Caesar

Like the Bloody Mary's more masculine counterpart, a Caesar features flavorful Clamato juice, in addition to the vodka and tomato juice, making it a perfect red-hued, Low Country libation. This drink can really be spicy or not, and can play host to any number of creative, festive garnishes. From a simple celery stick to a stack of tiny cheeseburgers, Bloody Mary and Caesar garnishes can be as small and simple or as big and bold as you see fit. 

Idea #7: The New York Sour

A perfect cocktail for lovers of both bourbon and red wine, the New York Sour layers a bright and zesty blend of lemon juice, bourbon or rye, and simple syrup with a float of ruby red wine on top. Some more classic versions also feature a third layer of creamy whipped egg whites on top, creating a dramatically stratified effect that's perfect for a special occasion. 

Idea #8 Winter Sangria

A seasonal spin on the classic fruit-filled drink, a "winterized" sangria swaps out summery or springtime berries and stone fruits with more seasonally appropriate choices for the cold winter months. Think lots of citrus, pear, cranberry, and pomegranate. Furthermore, a red wine-based winter sangria gets some added coziness thanks to the inclusion of warming spices such as cinnamon, star anise, and fresh nutmeg. 

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