Best Wine & Spirits Gifts For Valentine's Day 2018

Take a shot at love with this cheat sheet from bartender Meaghan Dorman

Chocolate melts and flowers die, but a good bottle of booze is timeless. And whether your beau is a beer gal or a tequila guy, there's something for everyone. 

Meaghan Dorman, bar director and partner at NYC's Dear Irving, The Bennett and Raines Law Room, couldn't agree more. "Valentine's Day comes right around the time we could all use a little fun. January and February can seem like the longest months of the year. What's better than to cheers with someone you love and appreciate?" she says.

Even if you can't score a table for two the night of, there's still hope for keeping the magic alive. "You can always celebrate on the 13th or 15th—make Valentine's Day an idea, not a set date," Dorman says. "If your favorite restaurant is doing a prix fixe menu, save your coin for a menu you're into." 

But, please, if you do brave the crowds, don't be that couple: "Many romantic places will be extra busy, so don't linger over a table without ordering another round or dessert," warns Dorman, whose go-to Valentine's Day move is a half bottle of Krug. "There is something about those baby bottles that feels so special to share. It's the perfect amount to kick off a meal or evening in an elegant way." She clearly knows how to do right by the holiday: Here are her foolproof (and easy-to-acquire) Valentine's Day gift ideas. 

① Raventos i Blanc de Nit Brut Rosé 

"While high-end for a cava, this is a bottle of bubbles that won't set you back like Champagne can. Floral notes mix well with the mineral notes, and the excellent acidity makes it a great aperitif before V-Day dinner. This is a great one to use as a spritz base, with a splash of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto or Aperol and citrus."

② Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose 

"I love the hint of salinity in this sour beer, and the bold color and fruit notes fit in for a funky Valentine's Day choice. The citrus is balanced out, but hints of coriander give this beer a grounding spice."

③ Sombra Mezcal

"This is one to linger over as the last drink of the night. I love the mix of reposado tequila (at home, I have a nice bottle of extra añejo I sub in for a butterscotch touch) and just a hint of smoke from the mescal." To make a Oaxacan old-fashioned at home, stir together over ice one and a half ounces of reposado tequila, a half ounce of Sombra Mezcal, two dashes of Angostura bitters and one teaspoon of agave nectar. Garnish with an orange peel after you've expressed the oil.

④ Balvenie 14-Year Caribbean Cask

"This is a favorite home bar investment of mine. The second finish of the rum casks gives this elegant Scotch notes of butter, vanilla and ripe fruit."

⑤ Ramona Ruby Grapefruit Wine Cooler

"I am quite often working on Valentine's Day, and pouring a Ramona over ice into a giant wineglass is how I'll celebrate. A modern take on the wine spritzer, it has delicious, real grapefruit flavor and packaging that makes you happy even before you drink it. It also makes me look forward to rooftop drinking season."