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Mixology: Valentine’s Day drinks

Soleil Westwood

Agave Kiss (alcoholic)

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce white crème de cacao
  • .5 ounce Chambord
  • fresh raspberries for garnish
  • white chocolate flakes (optional)
Combine tequila, white crème de cacao, the Chambord and ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. For added decoration, rim the cocktail glass with white chocolate flakes and add a spear of fresh raspberries.

Agave Kiss (non-alcoholic)

  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • 1 ounce chocolate cream (combine cocoa powder and heavy whipping cream, mix until smooth)
  • .5 ounce raspberry juice or extract
  • fresh raspberries for garnish
  • white chocolate flakes (optional)
Combine agave nectar, chocolate cream, raspberry juice and ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. For added decoration, rim the cocktail glass with white chocolate flakes and add a spear of fresh raspberries.

By Ashley Jakubczyk

Feb. 10, 2014 1:23 a.m.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s time to plan a night out. In this week’s Mixology, columnist Ashley Jakubczyk talks about the best picks for a Valentine’s Day cocktail in Westwood and how to celebrate if you plan on staying in instead.

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Whether you’re planning on celebrating solo or taking your valentine out to a romantic dinner in Westwood, there are a few options that not only provide an intimate feel for your evening, but also have a great bar selection for Valentine’s Day.

For a romantic atmosphere, bring that special someone to dinner at Skylight Gardens on Glendon Avenue. The glass-domed atrium and twinkling lights strung around the main dining room give the Italian restaurant a warm, classy mood. With a full bar, the Tuscan-inspired eatery is just right for a pre-dinner cocktail.

While Skylight Gardens makes a mean signature martini garnished with gorgonzola-stuffed olives and a perfectly mixed Manhattan, they also offer sweeter variations: a sparkling prosecco wine of the day and a peach Bellini made from peach schnapps and a homemade peach puree.

For a change of scenery, mix it up a bit and venture south of Wilshire to Soleil. The upscale French-Canadian restaurant is a bit pricier than other options in Westwood, but its ceiling, painted with stars that seem to twinkle under the dim light, creates a quaint and charming atmosphere.

If you come for dinner, try the fleur de lys, the signature drink of P’tit Soleil, the adjoining full bar. A martini made from vodka, St. Germain and the tangy taste of grapefruit, it is a delicious cocktail to accompany your meal. For a more relaxed Valentine’s Day celebration, go during the daytime on Saturday or Sunday, as Soleil offers a $10 bottomless Champagne brunch on weekends.

If you’re celebrating solo, venture over to the Backyard at the W Hotel on Hilgard. The outdoor Mediterranean-American restaurant is also a relaxed, poolside lounge with a diverse menu of beer, wine and handcrafted cocktails, ranging from $6-14 in price. For a sweet treat, try the Sugar Plum, a cocktail made from oro pisco quebranta, a grape brandy, mixed with red grapefruit, pomegranate syrup and a dash of sage.

For a darker and richer drink, order the Midnight in Manhattan, a twist on the traditional Manhattan drink mixed from Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon, an Italian caramel liquor called Averna Amaro, crème de cacao and orange bitters.

Alternatively, if your Valentine’s Day plans include staying in, the following is a recipe for the Agave Kiss, a drink as sweet as the day itself. The cocktail, which combines tequila with Chambord black raspberry liqueur and chocolate-based white crème de cacao, makes for a sweet dessert drink at the end your evening.

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Ashley Jakubczyk
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