Well, you’ve done it. Pat yourself on the back as you’ve got through the first and clearly the longest, most boring month in the year. Whether you went dry for January, made Netflix your best friend or just carried on like normal, it’s time to rejoice as glory be! Valentine’s day is here.

If the thought of getting it wrong on February 14th fills you with fear, don’t worry. Here are our gift ideas for presents that are guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Cocktail Making Set

Nothing oozes sophistication more than a James Bond esque night of glamour. Whether you are a Pussy Galore or a James, a Blofeld or even an M, we guarantee that dusting off your tux or zipping up your best party dress will put you in a romantic frame of mind. To make your night a little bit more ooh la la, why not mix the cocktails yourself? We have lots of great guides if you’re lacking inspiration, but in our mind, if you want to go full throttle romance then it’s a Vesper Martini or nothing.

Make like Moneypenny with BLOOM’s luxury gift set for cocktails on the couch. Containing a 70cl bottle of Bloom London Dry gin, a rose gold hammered cocktail shaker, a measure jigger and a cocktail bar spoon, we’re sure you’ll be both shaken and stirred.

Think Pink

We all know that pink is the colour of true love (or the colour of maybe-it’s-not-true-love-yet-but-I-really-really-like-you). So if you want to impress your beloved this year, then you’re going to have to think pink. Not just for girls, pink gins might look like they’re all going to taste bubblegum-sweet, but don’t let that rosy hue fool you. Fragrant, fresh and elegant, some pink gins are surprisingly complex with taste profiles ranging from delicate floral notes of rose petals to bold fruity tastes. Pour your loved one a bubble bath, give them a large measure of pink G&T to drink while they unwind, and we guarantee you won’t be hearing any complaints.

Whiskey, I love you

Why not turn up the heat on your Valentine’s evening with a vintage bottle of Irish Whiskey? If your Valentine “doesn’t do Valentine’s day” then a well-chosen bottle of single malt will definitely do the trick. Thoughtful enough to show you care, but nowhere near the cheese factor of sparkling wine and roses, we promise you’ll be whiskeyed away to seventh heaven before the night is over.

If you’re lacking inspiration, we like The Dublin Liberties Keeper’s Coin 16 year old single malt. Aged for 16 years in American oak barrels, this whiskey is the Taj Mahal of Irish. Packed full of aromas of soft toffee, fudge, toasted hazelnuts and baked banana with sea salt caramel, all you need to do is pour over ice, and let nature take its course.

Spice Up Your Night

If you need to spark a flame come February 14th then why not set the mood with a smoking hot cocktail? There are some amazing alternative spirits out there, with clever mixes of flavours that will warm both your taste buds and your heart. We are particularly fond of Opihr Gin for spirits that push the boundaries of run of the mill flavoured gin. Look out for unique, fragrant and warming tastes such as Szechuan peppers, Persian black lemons or cascarilla bark, for a G&T with a twist.

Can’t decide which flavour to choose? Don’t worry - their taster gift set has a choice of three miniature Regional Edition Gins, allowing your romantic journey to begin right at home.

Luxury Gin

If you want to raise a glass to romance this Valentine’s day but also want to keep things classy, then why not splash out on a bottle of award winning, hand crafted, gin? Berkeley Square gin is distilled to perfection, which marries together the traditional botanicals of a London Dry Gin (juniper, coriander, angelica and cubebs) with the unique blend of kaffir lime leaves, basil, sage and lavender. The result is simply superb. Named Berkely Square after the Mayfair address because it is oh so posh, this is one of the only gins in the world that can be drunk neat. This is what gin should taste like - it’s absolutely gin perfect. A supremely smooth taste for a supremely smooth night.

Create Your Own Cocktail

If there’s one thing that we should thank lockdown for is that it gave us a chance to flex our mixology muscles. So if you want to shake up a storm and let cupid do his work, then why not create a bespoke cocktail? We have lots of ideas to chose from on our cocktail bible pages, so all you need to do is add your own personal touch. Too sweet for your tastes? Just add an extra squizz of lemon juice. Prefer a more fruity finish? Then impress your intended with a groovy garnish. Of course, you could just crack open a bottle of your favourite vino, but there’s something to be said for enjoying a personalised cocktail, don’t you think?

Pop the question

Here at Neat & Shaken we love romance, and nothing says I love you quite like a Valentine’s proposal. So what if it’s a bit chliched? Love is love and it should be celebrated in all its love-ly forms. Whether you want to go full on cheesy with a swoonworthy proposal in front of family and friends or just keep it simple and sophisticated, we guarantee you’ll work up a thirst popping the question. We also guarantee that, once you’ve got it over and done with, you’ll be wanting to celebrate (assuming the answer is yes of course). With your nerves all a jitter, we think you probably won’t want to start mixing and shaking, so why not have a few ready-made cocktails on ice? From perfectly dosed classics to something with a bit more of an edge (try Opihr’s Gin and Tonic with a dash of ginger or BLOOM’s Passionfruit Soda for an elevated G&T) all you have to do is twist and pour. And congratulations!
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