What to Drink This Valentine's Day

© Carey Jones

By Ray Isle Posted February 11, 2016

Single? In a relationship? Not entirely sure? Regardless, we've got suggestions for what you should be opening this Valentine's Day.

Yes, Valentine's Day fast approacheth. Cupid is stringing his annoying little bow and flower shops are backing up the dumptrucks full of roses. But what are you going to drink? Whether you're in a relationship or not, the night is fraught with complications; best to choose wisely.

Everyone knows, of course, that Champagne is the drink of choice when it comes to romance. (Champagne marketers know this, too.) And plenty of Champagne will be drunk on this day dedicated to a fellow who was either beheaded by the Roman emperor Claudius or else beaten to death with clubs and stones. Or, some say, both. So romantic, hm?

Regardless, you do not have to drink Champagne on Valentine's Day. It's a world of possibilities—much like the dating scene. And the trick, as with dating, is to avoid the scary and/or icky ones. Here are some fine V-Day options, depending on your own situation.

Hanging out by yourself with the TV on. Possibly with your cat.

Now is the time to make yourself a really complicated (and fun, and strong) cocktail or two. We suggest you purchase the 2015 Food & Wine Cocktail Guide ($16). Try the Last Love Letter (without rereading same) or the Bitter Scotsman (especially if you're Scottish, and a man).

At a dinner party with other unattached friends.

Nothing's more fun at a party, wine-wise, than a big bottle: bring a magnum, and pour for everyone. And who says rosé is only for summer? A double-size bottle of the crisp 2014 Jean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé will only set you back $22 or so.

On one of those Valentine's day dates where you've been dating too long to not go out, but, wow, you really don't know where things are headed with this person.

Clarify your thinking with Bourbon, straight. Maybe with a single rock. (Note: multiple Bourbons will declarify you, fast.) Regardless: Look for the peppery Michter's #1 Bourbon ($45) or the substantial, toffee-inflected Jefferson's Reserve ($50).

In love. Maybe also in bed.

How sweet. And so, why not some sweet wine? Sauternes, the great sweet wine of Bordeaux, is a classic choice. Typically a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and possibly Muscadelle, Sauternes are made from grapes whose natural sugars have been concentrated by cinerea botrytis, or "noble rot." It's the perfect nightcap, or post-prandial/pre-whatever drink. A great one to try: 2010 Chateau Doisy Daene (about $30/half-bottle)

Popping the question.

Oh, forget it. If you're asking someone to marry you, you have to have Champagne on hand. And assuming you want her (or him) to say yes, it had better be good Champagne. Or, even better, great Champagne. The long-awaited Krug 2002 ($259) has just been released. With aromas of brioche, green apple, citrus and flowers, and a flavor that seems to linger endlessly, it's a spectacular Champagne.

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