For many people in the United States, Valentine’s Day means busting out the Champagne or red wine. There’s nothing wrong with that (here are the eight best Valentine’s wines, and you should probably drink them at home), but some people — whether they have a Valentine’s date or not — just don’t like wine. Or they don’t feel like wine on that particular day. Or they just like to break with convention and do something against the mainstream.
Whatever the reason, it’s best for people to have more than just wine options on Valentine’s Day. So without further ado, here are the seven best drinks for Valentine’s day, and, as an added bonus, most of these won’t break the bank.
The Muse from Angry Orchard
Angry Orchard’s Cider House Collection puts out a number of dry ciders. For Valentine’s Day, though, go with a cider that has a touch of sweetness. The Muse has Champagne-style bubbles and is aged in French oak. It’s sweet upfront, but not in an overly sugared way, and it’s balanced out by a nice acidity. If you’re a French wine lover, you’ll pick up oak and vanilla flavors similar to barrel-aged French wine. To top it all off, The Muse comes in an attractive bottle with a cage and cork so you don’t miss out on the romance of opening a bottle of Champagne.
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Grand Cru Aged Sour Ale by Rodenbach
Light red, slightly effervescent, and fruity, Rodenbach’s Grand Cru is just what you need to get into the Valentine’s Day mood. The sour is made up of one-third young beer and two-thirds aged beer that’s been in large oak vats for two years. It’s dry, with a sour cherry flavor that’s mouthwatering but not pucker-inducing. You know what? You might want to just pick up two of these.
Sofie from Goose Island Beer Co.
Sofie is a Belgian farmhouse ale that’s been aged in wine barrels. It’s another Valentine’s Day option that has a wine-like feel: bubbly with a Champagne color. There’s some orange citrus notes as well as some vanilla from the barrel aging. It’s a farmhouse ale, so there’s some barnyard funk in there, too.
Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery
Maybe wine-like cider and beer aren’t your thing. Maybe tacky boxes of chocolate are you thing. If that’s the case, then you’re going to want to find yourself a bottle of Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery. It has a higher percent alcohol by volume than many others on this list, and the roasted cocoa and coffee notes pair well with all the brownies, cookies, and chocolates you’re going to eat anyway.
Bitter Valentine from Alewerks Brewing Company
You don’t need a Valentine to celebrate Valentine’s Day with good beer. Satisfy your bitter soul (or your happy soul) with AleWerks Brewing Company’s Bitter Valentine Double IPA. The double dose of hops brings some citrus and tropical fruit notes to the aroma and taste of the beer. It’s 9 percent alcohol by volume, but you can hardly tell by the flavor. Then comes the bitter. The bitter finish will stay with you.
No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider from Wölffer Estate
Just because you don’t want wine doesn’t mean you have to avoid everything wine-related. Wölffer’s Dry Rosé Cider is kissed by some red grape skin extract, adding a slight rosé sweetness and classic rosé color. It’s on the dryer side with a healthy amount of acidity over extreme sweetness associated with many commercial ciders. This comes in four-packs of 355ml bottles — perfect for both a Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day celebration.
A six-pack of Downeast Cider cans and some popcorn is the fancy dinner alternative you’ve been waiting for. Downeast Cider is unfiltered and pours a hazy golden yellow. The sweetness is on par with the sweetness you’d get from biting into a crisp apple, while a little bitterness and a healthy acidity carry each sip. It’s just what you need for a movie-night Valentine’s celebration.