When it comes to iconic (and cliché) Valentine’s Day gifts, it’s tough to beat flowers (specifically a bouquet of red roses). But we all know that flowers die and shelling out a hundred dollars to give your love something that will be brittle and falling apart in a matter of days isn’t a great sign for the future of their relationship. That’s why, this year, give them something that will not only last (as long as they don’t drink it all on V-Day), but is famous for actually get even better with time? Whiskey.
Benjamin Rouse, head bartender at Henley in Nashville believes there’s one Valentine’s Day whisky that ranks above the rest.
“In lieu of flowers, I think scotch is the only acceptable route,” he says. “Scotch maturation takes a while longer than bourbon and shows that you like things that have to be taken care of over time, like relationships. My suggestion here would be Glenfiddich 14 Year Bourbon Barrel Reserve. This is the perfect dram for bourbon and scotch drinkers alike.”
Bryant Orozco, Bar Manager at Madre Restaurants + Mezcaleria in Los Angeles thinks love deserve high proof whiskey.
“I hope the person I will be celebrating love with loves a cask strength whiskey,” he says. “Although I am not the biggest whiskey drinker, one whiskey that has forever left a mark in my heart is The Glenlivet Nadurra. It is straight to the point and a lot like love; rough around the edges and very much enjoyable.”
Most bartenders in our orbit have thoughts on the right whiskey for the special occasion. That’s why we asked some of our favorites to tell us the one whiskey they would give their beloved instead of flowers.
Glenmorangie The Original Scotch Whisky
Manuel Obregon Bernal, bartender at Adamus in Chicago
Glenmorangie The Original. It is very smooth, like velvet. It’s rich, sweet, with a burst of floral that delights the palate; giving you a feeling of warmth, passion, and love.
Ardbeg Supernova Scotch Whisky
Alex Carlin, beverage director of Infuse Hospitality in Chicago
The best gifts are always something someone would appreciate but would never procure for themselves. Short of finding out your SO’s favorite malt, I would turn to Arbeg’s Supernova Distillery Series as a great gift. The legendary Scotch producer studied the effects of near zero-gravity on un-matured whiskey at the International Space Station. The results are this edition that blends the space juice with the malt.
You could tell someone that this bottle has been to space and back just so they could enjoy this delicious whisky. Even Elon can’t beat that.
Horse Soldier Bourbon
Emily Kraus, national beverage manager for Wolfgang Puck Catering
Horse Soldier Bourbon – everyone loves a good story and this one is sure to tug on the heartstrings of even the toughest person. This bourbon is crafted by the Green Berets who rode horseback into Afghanistan after 9/11. Their harrowing efforts inspired the movie 12 Strong and documentary Legion of Brothers. The bottle itself is impressed using a mold forged from steel recovered from the World Trade Centers.
Johnnie Walker Blue Blended Scotch Whisky
Abraham Millett, head bartender at Plunge Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If you’re celebrating love, it’s a special thing. Go with Johnnie Walker Blue. it’s going to be around for a long time and Harrison Ford drinks it in Blade Runner 2049. So it’s got the staying power you’ll hope your Valentine does.
Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year Bourbon
Anthony Merlino, beverage director at Bergamo’s in New York City
As my love is a rare woman, I would go for Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 year. This whiskey is a rare and limited release with dried fruits, oak tannins, and a cooked sugary sweetness. I love it.
Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey
Tony Abou Ganim, master mixologist and bar consultant at Highlands in Detroit
My go-to whiskey for celebrating love and sharing that celebration with that certain special someone is Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey. The fact that Gentleman Jack gets charcoal mellowed both before and after aging results in a more refined spirit which lends itself, in a very sensual way, to being shared over a single large cube of ice or enjoyed, together, in classic libations such as a Manhattan or Whiskey Sour. As a man, I believe we should all treat ladies, and whiskey, as the gentleman we are.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Miki Nikolic, beverage director at Double Dealer in New Orleans
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon. It’s one of the most underrated bourbons on the market! The thoughtfulness is sure to make an impact on your love.
Uncle Nearest 1856 Whiskey
Kala Ellis, bar manager at O-Ku in Nashville
I’m a big whiskey girl. If a gentleman gave me a bottle of Uncle Nearest 1856 instead of flowers, he could have my heart forever. It’s a little bigger in body than their 1884, which is also super tasty. But it’s incredibly easy to drink. It has a beautiful history. And to me, nothing is more romantic than a good story.
E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon
Lauren Mathews, lead bartender at Urbana in Washington, DC
E.H. Taylor Small Batch is a solid sipping whiskey. Plus, it’s sure to impress with its 100 proof and really delicious notes of vanilla.
The Macallan 12
James MacInnes, bar manager at KYU in Miami
First of all, gifting scotch is a way better allocation of funds than perishable flowers. This being said, I would lean towards something with a sweet and subtle sherry influence. The Macallan has always been a fantastic example of that flavor profile. Also, being a scotch with a storied history and immaculate knack for consistency, I think it their 12-year Scotch would be an ideal candidate for the holiday.
Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Irish Whiskey
Andres Padilla, head bartender at 312 in Chicago
Writers’ Tears Copper Pot is a unique Irish Whisky with a sweet chocolate taste. It’s ideal for making somebody fall in love.
Kavalan Classic Taiwanese Whisky
Darron Foy, head bartender at The Flatiron Room in New York City
Kavalan classic. The flagship expression from this young emerging distillery (operating since 2005), Kavalan has wooed the world with its vibrant and tropical whiskies. This expression is light and elegant, chock full of honey, vanilla and mango, while intermarrying with clean floral notes. Easy to sip over ice, neat or in a cocktail, it would impress your bartender buddies with its floral bouquet and gentle warmth on the palate.
Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye
Bryan Mayer, bartender at Azabu in Miami
Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, because it is not in the common, and if you start a new relationship; it is something special to embark on your new journey together.
Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon
Maxwell Reis, beverage director at Gracias Madre in Los Angeles
What’s better than roses? Four Roses of course. The Four Roses Small Batch Select would sweep anyone off their feet, and after a few pours, love will most definitely be in the air.