Has Oisin Davis found a love potion for Valentine's Day? Well, maybe not, but he's certainly found a cocktail that will stir romance into action and laments on what Valentine's Day is really all about. 

Even if it is a total Hallmark holiday, the whole idea behind Valentine's Day is not the worst really. Essentially, there's nothing wrong with one day in the year to celebrate human romance and that special someone in your life. It's just like a lot of good ideas, it gets destroyed in the execution. The problem now with Valentine's Day is that it has become so commercially milked and popular, that few elements about it are actually appealing any more. 

Let's look at restaurants. If you want to take a punt on one for a romantic meal, be prepared for all sorts of potential problems. To begin with, on a normal night in your typical eatery, you will have groups of all sizes dining. A birthday party of 10, a four-top of work colleagues, two tops and people who are eating alone. But for one day in February, that all gets turned upside down as every available space has to be catered for couples. It's a service nightmare as it means that the front-of-house has to try and cope with a much higher amount of communication and orders. That, in turn, wreaks havoc on the kitchen, which can ultimately mean some serious customer delays. Rock up for your 7.30pm reservation and there's a good chance you won't be at your table for an hour. That mightn't be a problem until your waiter tells you that they're gonna need the table back really quickly as the next sitting is fully booked and they were initially due in for 9pm. Nothing like a spot of indigestion or the angry gaze of the morbidly hungry to get you in the mood!

If you really want to leave the house on Valentine's Day, my advice is to skip the restaurant and get thee to your nearest cocktail bar. A couple of beautifully-crafted, mixed drinks are as tantalising on the auld taste buds and amorous as any 60-minute set meal. Those of you within drinking distance of Waterford Castle Hotel would do well to visit their Fitzgerald Room Bar and hang out with manager Ilario Alberto Capraro.

This Italian, who has made Ireland's sunny south east his home, is a die-hard romantic and that's clearly evident in his drinks. He has put together a very special cocktail for this Valentine's Day and he has very kindly shared his inspiration and indeed his recipe. It is a celebration of all things local, a mindset that he and his team are proud to get behind.

"My team has only one rule; work with love, passion and the detail will create substance! I always select local products and love working with our local producers. They have such raw energy and passion for their products and wonderful stories behind their brands.  Supporting local individual artisan producers has always been the Waterford Castle way. It is  also my philosophy, to support quality local products, which can grow our local economy and help create a green footprint for our future."

This is brilliantly manifested in his cocktail, "Lost On You" which uses Blackwater distillery's Wexford Strawberry Gin and another classic from Wexford, Poacher's Citrus tonic water, "The combination of strawberry gin, orange & rosemary tonic is an incredible journey. Evoking butterflies in the stomach, the essence of rosewater in your love’s Chanel no.5, the touch of her hand in yours for the first time. The exquisite fresh strawberries add texture, the exotic flavour of Creole bitters brings to mind the feeling of that long hug which leads to a first kiss." 

What a charmer. Bartenders just do it better. 

"Lost On You"

Created by Ilario Capraro of The Fitzgerald Room Bar at Waterford Castle Hotel
  • 50ml Blackwater Wexford Strawberry Gin
  • 25ml fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
  • 3 drops of Rose Water Essence 
  • 2 fresh strawberries
  • 3-4 drops of Creole Bitters
  • Top with Poacher's Citrus Tonic

Method

  • Place the fresh strawberry, sugar and the essence of rose water in a shaker, muddle. Add all other ingredients except, tonic and bitters.
  • Fill shaker with ice and shake well.
  • Fine strain the liquid into a highball glass with ice and top with Citrus Poachers tonic.
  • Complete the cocktail with Creole Bitters on top.
  • Garnish with fresh rose petal and fresh strawberry.

Author: Oisin Davis

Oisin Davis works on a global level as an Irish drinks evangelist and producer. He is the founder of nationwide drinks festivals that celebrate Irish spirits in the best bars and restaurant in the 32 counties and to top it off he is co-owner of Poacher's Premium Beverages, Ireland's only all-natural mixer company. F&W is delighted that Oisin has joined our contributing team with his column "Great Irish Drinks." 

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