In the grand scheme of things, Valentine’s Day is fairly low on the list of important holidays: Higher up than, say, Groundhog Day, but not as important as, for instance, Halloween. But this year, I’m craving any shred of normalcy as the pandemic continues and I’m excited to celebrate it. All of that Valentine pageantry, which I usually find trite and saccharin, offers a welcome distraction from the news cycle. (Bring on the arrow-wielding cupids and sappy greeting cards!)
I’m taking my preparations for the holiday a bit more seriously than in year’s past and am trying to extend the celebration to include friends and family near and far. With that in mind, here are 11 tasteful Valentine’s Day gifts that range from the silly to the sublime.
While I certainly wouldn’t turn down a flute of the current 2010 vintage of Dom Pérignon Champagne ($188) or the Pol Roger Brut Reserve ($50), I have another idea for Valentine’s Day drinks.
Pol Roger Brut Réserve
I normally approach February with a bit of trepidation: Excited for what the next 10-ish months hold for me, but also unwilling to let go of the previous year. I won’t miss 2020 and feel hopeful about 2021. In that spirit, try toasting your Valentine with a bottle of whisky or rum that has aged for—you guessed it—21 years.
There are a number of 21-year-old whiskies on the market. One of my all-time favorites is the Redbreast 21-Year-Old Irish Whiskey ($180), which is made in a traditional pot still. It’s a real treat that anyone lucky enough to receive it will enjoy. The Redbreast 12-Year-Old ($60) would also make a great gift for yourself or a Valentine.
Redbreast 21 Year
Redbreast 12 Year
Another special 21-year-old is the single malt Scotch whisky from Aberfeldy ($199) that has been aged in a few different types of barrels, including used bourbon barrels and sherry casks. The distillery was constructed in 1898 in order to supply Dewar’s with single malt, which also just introduced a younger offering that would make a nice present: The 8-year-old, port cask–finished blended whisky aptly called Portuguese Smooth ($22).
Aberfeldy 21 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Dewar's Portuguese Smooth Port Cask Whisky
Appleton is one of the few rum brands to produce a 21-year-old bottling. (Tropical climates aren’t ideal for aging spirits.) Look out for its 21-Year-Old Jamaican Rum ($130), which would make a deluxe gift. Another delicious (and more affordable) option is the Appleton 8-Year-Old Reserve Rum ($30), which makes an excellent Daiquiri.
Appleton Estate 21 Year Old
Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve
For the cocktail drinker in your life, consider skipping the roses this year and giving them the Tovolo Rose Ice Mold ($18 for a set of two). It’s made of silicone, is easy to use and to clean, and it will add a bit of elegant flair to any holiday concoction.
Tovolo Rose Ice Cube Mold
In all honesty, I’m looking forward to indulging in more chocolate this year than I normally do on Valentine’s Day. You can’t go wrong with any of Jacques Torres’ delicious confections, which will satisfy even the most fervent chocoholics.
The Share the Love Treasure Box ($75), which features some of his greatest hits including chocolate hearts, chocolate-covered marshmallows, and bark, is a decadent delight. He also offers a 12-piece Love Bonbon set ($29) that is a delicious treat and includes special white-, dark-, and milk-chocolate pieces.