I spent some time updating my Discogs inventory this afternoon,and while sifting through my collection considering what might be nice for a spin on this Valentine’s Day (trying to avoid disco for the sake of my husband’s sanity), I found myself face to face with this pink album cover titled “Love Can Prevail” and the choice seemed obvious.
This album by Electric Wire Hustle was one of the three selections hand curated for me by the fine folks at VNYL during my first shipment, which arrived just a couple of weeks ago. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I had yet to give this one a listen, but given the outstanding job they did with the other two albums, I thought it might be fun to give this one a shot tonight. Now, I won’t say it was a bad choice on my part, but perhaps not the right choice for this particular occasion. In fact, the word that kept popping up in my vocabulary as the record played was “interesting”, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to a romantic evening. A little funk, perplexing beats and a heavy dose of experimental electronic jazz wound their way through the tracks, some of which were fantastic, but in general the album left me with a case of vertigo, and dizzy isn’t exactly what I was looking for tonight unless it was compliments of the whiskey. Given the comments from my husband it wasn’t going to be his first choice to accompany his cocktail, either, so I reverted back to my original choice, Simply Red’s Picture Book. Quite a change from where I started, but the smooth, jazzy vocals definitely set a more appropriate tone for the evening, although I suspect my husband was hoping I would have selected Run The Jewels 2 – Close Your Eyes and Count to F*ck. Maybe for our anniversary.
In all honesty, the Simply Red album was a perfect follow up to a great dinner at home with the love of my life, and his romantic cocktail concoction rounded out the occasion nicely. Who needs a special holiday to celebrate love when you can have this every day?
Well, we’ve had this bottle of Luxardo in the bar for a while now, and I was itching for an excuse to use it. Valentine’s Day seemed to be just what the doctor ordered, in this case. Tonight’s cocktail is nothing more than a riff on the Perfect Manhattan, except I used Luxardo instead of dry vermouth and used chocolate bitters.
It turned out really nicely, you could do a chocolate syrup drizzle in a martini glass for service, if you wanted more sweetness and more chocolate. We decided on simply serving them in rocks glasses, sans the chocolate syrup. The chocolate and cherry notes work really well in a Manhattan, give it a try on your next “date night” or if you’re simply looking to replace a dessert course with a cocktail.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Manhattan:
2 oz of bourbon (we used Old Weller Antique)
.75 oz of Luxardo (or any maraschino liqueur)
.25 oz of sweet vermouth
5-6 dashes of chocolate bitters
Bourbon soaked maraschino cherries (we really need to get around to making some homemade brandied cherries…)
Add the bourbon, Luxardo and vermouth to a cocktail pitcher full of ice and stir well. Then strain into a glass with the bitters and cherry. Serve and enjoy! Cheers.