Step away from the rosé. Spirits, not wine, are what you want for that Valentine’s Day blush. Distillers are infusing gins, vodkas and liqueurs with rose petals, ruby red grapefruit and, yes, even pink wine––all in the name of achieving that perfect pink hue.
“The color is arresting,” says Joe Heron, the founder of Copper & Kings distillery. “Pink drinks add a sense of fun and optimism.” Precisely what you want on V-Day, whether you’re sharing it with a partner or you’re blissfully “self-partnered.”
Pink drinks have been the rage for some time, led by the rosé-all-day phenomenon. But why should winemakers have all the fun? We drink with our eyes as much as our mouths and adding a pop of pink to your cocktails is sure to make you feel rosy. These six pink spirits will have you seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, indeed.
Beefeater Pink London Gin ($30)
The iconic British distillery released this fruity pink gin, based on the original recipe of its London dry and boosted with natural strawberry flavor. It’s inspired by founder James Burrough’s strolls through market stalls in the city’s Covent Garden in the 1800s, where he’d peruse fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Though it’s a spirit that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you can use it to mix some seriously delicious cocktails like a pink Gin & Tonic.
Copper & Kings The History of Lovers Gin ($35)
This Louisville, Kentucky, distillery wanted to bottle the color and bouquet of roses. Botanicals including crushed whole juniper berries, rose hips, rose water, sweet orange, tangerine, lime, pink grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, coriander, pink peppercorns and licorice root are macerated in apple brandy low-wine, then redistilled with additional botanicals to retain aromatics and flavor.
“Our objective is elegance and good taste versus a ‘Barbie’ gin,” says Copper & Kings’ Heron. Mix it in a Rose Spanish G&T garnished with juniper berries, strawberries and edible flowers.
Glendalough Rose Gin ($40)
This small-batch gin is made using wild ingredients picked in the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin, by the only distillery in the world to use full-time foragers. It’s pot-distilled with juniper, mountain-grown flora and three types of aromatic roses that lend it its pretty pink hue. Aromas of lemon, blood orange, soft juniper and fresh rose are joined by flavors of rose petal, bright berries, Turkish delight candies and nectar-sweet citrus, with a finish of pink peppercorn and earthy spice. Drink it in a variant of a Ramos Gin Fizz with strawberry syrup and Bittermens Xocolatl mole bitters.
Hangar 1 Rosé Vodka ($40)
The San Francisco Bay Area distillery housed in an old World War II aircraft hangar works with local vintners and farmers to source the fruit for all its spirits. For its rosé vodka, it infuses vodka with California rosé wine. “Hangar 1 rosé was inspired as a celebration of California’s wine culture that explores the full flavor profile of the grape,” says head distiller Caley Shoemaker. Floral aromas are followed by flavors of crisp apple, sweet pea blossoms and a touch of oak, finishing with hints of cranberry. Try it in a Sangria riff with fresh watermelon juice, lime juice and club soda.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
Malfy Gin Rosa ($30)
The Italian distillery where this gin is produced encapsulates the philosophy of “dolce far niente,” the sweet art of doing nothing. This spirit is a sun-drenched ode to the sparkling Mediterranean coast, distilled with Sicilian pink grapefruits, lemon peel, angelica root, orris root and coriander; rhubarb added afterward gives it its pale pink hue. The gin tastes of fresh grapefruit with a long juniper finish. Sip it on the terrace in a Martini variation with Italian vermouth and garnished with lime.
Rhuby Rhubarb Liqueur ($31)
Childhood memories of biting into bittersweet rhubarb stalks in Sweden inspired Ylva Binder to create a liqueur that bottles that experience. She sources local rhubarb, which is juiced and preserved with Swedish wheat vodka from her birthplace of Åker Styckebruk, Södermanland, and mixes in a touch of sugar and bourbon bean vanilla. The liqueur starts smooth on the palate, followed by tart rhubarb and a long silky finish offsetting the root’s sharpness. It’s lovely in a blushing take on the Reverse Martini.