Indulging in Desserts this Valentine’s Day?
Similar to love, it took the Heartwood team a few tries to get this year’s Valentine’s Day dessert just right. Chef Varin and Amanda Reed are constantly reworking recipes and adjusting the most minute flavors, textures, and ingredients to create an intriguing pairing. In this case, a yogurt panna cotta with rose meringue, lychee sorbet, and cucumber juice didn’t event make the cut for Heartwood’s first Valentines’ Day dessert.
The team landed on a dessert and cocktail pairing that resists urges to be cloyingly sweet or so precious you won’t want to disturb its beauty. Bouquet and Bubbles (available Sunday, February 14th only) is both complex and floral thanks to the incorporation of pear, almond and roses. In the paired cocktail, absinthe brings a tenor note to bright citrus and to the sweetness of the syrup and the bubbles.
Chef and Amanda explain how—and why—they developed the pairing.
Chef Varin: As we sought out a dessert for Heartwood’s first Valentine’s Day, we decided to develop a play on a “bouquet of flowers.” That included rose and hibiscus, as well as fruit in the form of lychee, which has a very floral flavor and aroma. We also thought the pairing was interesting in the way roses and a bottle of bubbles are synonymous with Valentine’s Day.
Amanda: I loved the idea and immediately knew an aromatic cocktail would be a great compliment to Varin’s dessert bouquet. I have a fondness for absinthe in drinks and have had a lot of success combining it with lychee and pear flavors, so it seemed a natural fit. I was also all about using bubbles—it is Valentine’s Day after all—and moscato seemed like a great way to enhance the floral and also add sweetness. Vodka and citrus served as a perfect platform upon which to build these highly aromatized ingredients.
Bouquet and Bubbles
Dessert: Rose cream, pear, hibiscus gelee, almond, lychee sorbet, rose meringue
Pairing Cocktail: Oola Vodka, Lemon, Absinthe, Moscato Sparkling Wine
Valentine’s Cocktail Pairing
0.75 oz Vodka
0.5 oz Lemon
0.25 oz Gum Syrup
1 oz Sparkling Moscato
Rinse cocktail glass with absinthe and set aside. Mix first three ingredients in a mixing tin with ice. Shake and fine strain into a cocktail glass. Top with sparkling wine.
*This recipe is portioned as a pairing cocktail; double the size for a more traditional cocktail.