The Most Romantic Whiskey Cocktail to Make on Valentine’s Day

Rye ‘n’ Gosling. Photo by Abraham Rowe Photography.
Rye’n Gosling. Photo by Abraham Rowe Photography.

Valentine’s Day is a high stakes romantic game for food and drink, but we’ve got the inside track on a fantastic whiskey cocktail everyone can enjoy.

One important part of a good relationship is experimentation, and we’re on the record as saying that goes for your drinking activities, as well.

With that in mind, we asked bartender and author Clair McLafferty for her favorite unusual whiskey cocktail from her latest book Romantic Cocktails.

McLafferty’s book is full of fun drinks for first dates and long-time couples to enjoy alike, but after some prodding, she directed us to the holiday-appropriate “Rye’n Gosling,” from Julian Goglia, owner of Atlanta bar The Mercury.

“It’s a really fun whiskey sour riff,” says McLafferty. “It’s got some sweetness and funk from the spirits pairing, and it’s just really refreshing and complex.”

While the Rye’n Gosling calls for a fairly specific set of ingredients, it’s an open dance card as far as the choice of rye is concerned. But McLafferty confessed to a not-so-secret crush on Rittenhouse. “It was my well for three years,” she explains. “It typically stands up well in cocktails—it makes a damn good old fashioned.”

We’ve already added this one to our “notebook,” and we’re going to suggest you do the same.

Check out the recipe below.

Romantic Cocktails by Clair McLafferty.

Rye’n Gosling

—Julian Goglia, The Mercury, Atlanta, Georgia

“This cocktail is almost as sexy as the actor. With some vanilla and peppery spice from the rye, complexity from the rum, and tropical sunshine from the orgeat and lime, it is a great cocktail to sip when you need to daydream about meeting a beautiful person in a beautiful place.”

3⁄4 ounce rye whiskey
3⁄4 ounce dark rum, such as Gosling’s
3⁄4 ounce orgeat*
3⁄4 ounce fresh lime juice 2 dashes Dr. Adam’s Aphrodite Bitters
Lime wheel, for garnish

*Orgeat is a tropical syrup made with almond milk, lime zest, and orange flower water. If you want to make it from scratch, check out the recipe on page 214. But Trader Vic’s, Small Hand Foods, Giffard, and B. G. Reynolds all make good syrups as well.

Directions: Shake rye, dark rum, orgeat, lime juice, and bitters with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lime wheel and blown kisses.

Check out more cool cocktails for date nights and beyond in McLafferty’s book, on sale here and here.

G. Clay Whittaker
Clay is Editor at Large of The Bourbon Review. He has written about whiskey, food, drink, and culture for Esquire, Playboy, Men's Journal, Popular Science, Southern Living, Maxim, among others.