Pulling off a mediocre Valentine’s Day gift is pretty foolproof. A dozen red roses. Check. Box of pharmacy chocolates. Check. Schmaltzy card. Check. Cue the Isaac Hayes and you’re all set.
But if you’re unwilling to sleepwalk through the holiday and are intent on sweeping your beloved off his or her feet, we can help. It’s going to take a bit more planning, but it will be worth it and you have a few days to get it done. No need for thanks. Just call us cupid.
While it seems like you can’t avoid roses on Valentine’s Day even if you try, I don’t mind finding them in my drink. I’m not talking about petals as a cocktail garnish, but in the Scottish Hendrick’s Gin, which is flavored with a range of botanicals, including rose petals. (Cucumber and juniper also play a major role in making up the spirit’s unique flavor.) It’s a subtle way to give roses without, well, giving roses and can be a delicious base for a drink inspired by your sweetheart.
If gin doesn’t fit into your holiday plans, Champagne is, of course, a favorite of romantics. Look out for Moët & Chandon special eMoëticon edition of its Rosé Imperial ($50). The festive pink bottle comes with, you guessed it, a page of emoji stickers. While the packaging is kind of silly, the bubbly inside is no joke. If you prefer a more serious look, there’s also a version that isn’t pink and comes in a gift box.
And to make sure you don’t send the cork flying, pick up the Rabbit Champagne set ($30) that includes a pair of handy pliers and also a sealer that will make sure your bubbly stays bubbly between glasses.
You can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day without chocolate. But that doesn’t mean you have to give your loved one an oversize heart-shaped box of cheap bonbons. Compartés Chocolatier in Los Angeles offers a chic alternative: a set of 10 dark chocolate ganache truffles made with 18-year-old Macallan Scotch. The boozy confections are as exquisite as another V-Day staple—jewelry—and are so good you may want to eat them before dinner. If you insist on a more classic gift, the boutique also offers more traditional gift boxes, like its Rosé Chocolate Truffles that are pink on the outside and are filled with a rosé wine chocolate ganache.
If your lover is a cheese lover, then the Valentine’s Day Collection ($100), from New York’s legendary cheese shop, Murray’s, will be a hit. It includes a box of crispy Hayden White Sonora Crackers, as well as a selection of three cheeses (a pound and a half in all). There’s also a dark chocolate bar from artisanal Brooklyn chocolatiers Mast Brothers, which you can claim since you planned an exceptional Valentine’s Day.