The drinks of love - Sheffield experts recommend top Valentine’s Day tipples

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Love is all about finding the perfect match - which also applies when it comes to the very best in cocktails.

It’s apt then that February 14 is often when couples dare to try something different.

Jules Gray in the Hop Hideout on Abbeydale Road

Jules Gray in the Hop Hideout on Abbeydale Road

At Peppercorn restaurant on Abbeydale Road the signature drink Pink Peppercorn is a hit, while it also serves up nine fine whiskeys.

But owners Kelly Ware and Charlie Curran have gone one step further for their diners on February 14, by allowing The Star’s lifestyle magazine Profile to create a very special drink, then putting it on the menu.

Heaps of muddling, shaking and flavour experimention later, and the Seductive Rum Sour and the Berry Bloom Fizz were born.

The first is a mix of rum, lemon and cherries while the latter is a combination of Bloom gin, prosecco, strawberries and raspberry.

“Cocktails give you a chance to be creative and I think ladies especially love them when they have a bit of fizz in”, said Kelly.

“Drinking one feels like a celebration. We do get quite a few customers ordering them, we have some fantastic ones with fruit and our Gin Basil Smash is really good as well.”

Few people have as encyclopedic a knowledge of beer as Jules Wray, who runs the Hop Hideout shop and tasting room on Abbeydale Road.

And she has chosen four brews for those who prefer something a little out of the ordinary on February 14.

Jules said: “I’ve gone for big bottles - so they’re all 660ml or larger - in a ‘sharing is caring’ way.

“There’s over thirty different styles of beer recognised across the globe, which translates as a wonderful myriad of flavours to pick from when deciding on pairings for your Valentine’s evening.

“This means you can pair each course of your romantic meal with a different beer and add a real sense of occasion, alongside a fun evening trying new gastronomic marriages.”

The four beers suggested are Upright Brewing’s Floral Rustica, a 5.1 per cent light American saison described as an ‘ideal opening aperitif’ and hugely aromatic.

Boon and Mikkeller make the Oude Geuze, a seven per cent classic Belgian sour beer which matches well with seafood, and is ‘hugely sharp and refreshing.’

For a real kick Bosteels’ Deus is not only 11.5 per cent, but also champagne like and served in stemmed glass. Think golden fizz with notes of coriander, lemon and herbal qualities.

At dessert time, the limited edition The Smokehouse Porter from The Cheshire Brewhouse is a sweet, rich and chocolate-like porter which makes a decadent finish to a sticky toffee pudding. It comes in at 6.8 per cent.

And now for wine fans.

Matt Bowyer from Le Bon Vin in Attercliffe recommended the SI Irresistible Sparkling Blush, Louis de Grenelle NV, a light creamy pink , and the 2013 Reserve from Domaine du Tariquet in the Cotes de Gascogne region.

Of the latter he said: “Aged in French oak for a year before bottling, this blend consists of four grape varieties - Gros Manseng, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Sémillon - each of which reveals its own distinct aroma.

“The result is a whole host of complex, mellow notes ranging from fruity flavours and oaky vanilla to yellow peaches and tropical fruit. Together, they create a wine with good complexity and structure, in which the mellow oak is discreet.

“Serve slightly chilled, as an aperitif or with a meal. Excellent with foie gras, fish, poultry, white meat and cheese, and a sure fire Valentine’s Day pleaser.”

The February edition of Profile is available now in local businesses and by home delivery.