Bleeding heart valentine's Day beer

Valentine’s Day: A Beer For Bleeding Hearts

Second Self Beer Company’s seasonal release of “Bleeding Heart” for Valentine’s Day

For some, Valentine’s Day represents passionate emotions…and for others it is a lonely nightmare trapped between the echoes of lost love. Some will choose to celebrate in solitude, while others go all out making reservations for a romantic dinner. This Valentine’s Day, consider swapping wine for beer, especially when there’s a beer made especially for the holiday. Second Self provides Bleeding Heart beer as a compliment to either Valentine’s Day experience.

There are definite notes of cocoa and mocha both in the nose and on the tongue for Bleeding Heart beer. This festive amber ale is a balanced beer that can be paired with several kinds of dishes. Be that pasta, salmon, flank steak, the beer matches well. So if you are a beer lover and dining solo, with friends or a special someone, be sure to try Bleeding Heart or another amber ale. Be sure you have the best beer glasses to serve your Valentine’s day guests as well.

As a seasonal release, and in staying true to the fleeting nature of cupid’s arrows, Bleeding Heart is only available for a limited time. This year Second Self is releasing a canned version which is available for purchase at a handful of retail locations across the city. No matter your relationship with the Valentine’s Day holiday, a good beer is always worth having. Bleeding Heart is a nice companion for this time of year and is both shareable and good in isolation. Be sure and give it a try while you can!

Valentine’s Day In: Cocktails and Fondue

Venturing out on Valentine’s Day is for amateurs. Those who choose to do so, do at their own peril. Often times service is sloppy or rushed and you certainly don’t get the best efforts from the chef. If you choose to stay in, like my sweetie and I do, here are some options for food and drink for the ultimate aphrodisiac.
If you’re celebrating with that special someone this Valentine’s Day, make it one to remember by snuggling together with a delicious fondue. Below are two options—an elegant Pale Ale Cheese or a decadent Chocolate Rum Fondue.  Original Culinary Spirits, the first line of spirits created specifically for cooking. And to pair with the fondue, we also have some romantic cocktails to help set the mood!

Ale-Infused Cheese Fondue

Serves 4

Cheese Sauce
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, halved
1 ½ cups Rave Review! ™Original Culinary Hops™
1 dash hot pepper sauce

For Dipping
Bread and cooked meat, cut into pieces

Directions
Combine cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Rub cut side of garlic clove around bottom and sides of fondue pot. Pour Culinary Hops into fondue pot and slowly bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. Gradually add cheese while stirring, until cheese is melted and blended (for about 10 to 15 minutes).   Add hot pepper sauce and stir. Serve with bread or meat pieces.

Chocolate Rum Fondue

Serves 6-8

Chocolate Rum Sauce
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 tsp. Rave Review!™ Original Culinary Rum™
⅛ tsp. grated orange zest

For Dipping
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, dried and hulled
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 bananas, peeled, cut into 2 to 2 ½ -inch slices
12 oz. thick, salted pretzels
4 oz. dried apricots
6 oz. roasted, salted almonds

Directions
In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the cream, sugar, cinnamon and butter to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts.  Add the Culinary Rum and stir in the orange zest before serving. Arrange dipping food on a platter. Serve with warm chocolate rum sauce.

Karamel Kiss

1 oz. Sobieski Karamel Vodka
½ oz. crème de cocoa dark
¾ oz.  rum
½ oz. whipped cream
½ oz. vanilla syrup
Chocolate syrup
Caramel syrup
Swirl chocolate and caramel syrup in a martini glass. In a shaker with ice, add Sobieski Karamel Vodka, crème de Cocoa dark, whipped cream, rum and vanilla syrup. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cocoa sprinkle.

CAMUS Passion

1 ½ oz. CAMUS VS Elegance Cognac
¾ oz. sweetened condensed milk
¾ oz. passion fruit concentrate
Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker and shake. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with an edible flower.

Cupid’s Arrow

1 oz. Lucid Absinthe
1 oz. raspberry liqueur
1 oz. lemonade or sour mix
2 oz. ginger ale
1 lemon wedge for garnish
Fill a shaker with ice and add raspberry liqueur, Lucid Absinthe and lemonade. Shake vigorously. Pour into a glass and top with ginger ale.  Add a lemon wedge and serve.

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Last Minutes Valentine’s Day Options

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, if you haven’t already secured a reservation for you and your special someone, it maybe a tad difficult. At this late date, many restaurants are booked, but you can still find some great restaurants if you think outside the box. Here are some ideas for last minute Valentine’s Day plans.

Go to an ethnic restaurant
While so many opt to go out to the fancy, high-end restaurants, lots of ethnic eateries remain empty on Valentine’s Day. Many have beautiful interiors and offer aromatic and sensual dishes. So why not visit one of these restaurants on Valentine’s Day? As an added bonus, they tend to be easier on the wallet than their upscale competitors.

Get Schooled / Spoiled
Take a cooking class with your sweetie at a nearby cooking school. Big spender? Hire chef to make a special dinner for you. Not only will they serve dinner to you as if you are in a restaurant, but often times they also offer wine pairings and will dress up your dining area in an uber romantic decor. While you may not be able to take advantage of these on Valentine’s Day itself, you can certainly schedule them another day. There’s no rule you have to celebrate on February 14th.

Do Something Out of the Ordinary
Visit the botanical gardens, a museum or do a wine or beer tasting. Check out a comedy club, or catch a flick at your favorite movie theatre, if you are both cinema buffs. There are many movie theatres around the country that offer in theatre dining. Indulge in a full dinner or split a bottle of wine while enjoying your comfy seating.

Don’t let conventional ideas about Valentine’s Day dictate how you and your special someone will celebrate. Do something you both love and enjoy the day together. That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, after all! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Gift: Crystal Candle Holders

Psst. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Have you made your plans yet? Do you know what you will be doing on Valentine’s Day? Evening? Now is your friendly reminder to make a reservation at your favorite restaurant if you haven’t already done so. That takes care of one part of Valentine’s Day, but what about the gift?

Sure, there are flowers, balloons and chocolate. Those are certainly nice gestures, but it is a great idea to give your sweetie something that is going to last for years to come. And we all know that candles are uber romantic, right? So, why not give your significant other a couple candles and holders, classy crystal ones, of course!

Here are three ideas for beautiful Valentine’s gifts sure to impress your sweetheart:

Art Deco Votive:

These crystal votives are a small but elegant. Make a statement with a trio of them or deck out a room in them to dial up the romance.

Not only are these made of high quality crystal but they are quite affordable at under $12 per votive.

Slice Votive:

Looking for something a bit more modern for a Valentine’s Day gift? Look no further than the Slice votive. The Slice Votive Candle Holder features a unique and contemporary spiral design in a thick, clear non-lead crystal format. This stunning piece is the end result of design competition at the Parsons School of Design in New York. A group of students participating in the contest were taken to Germany on a tour of the Riedel Glassworks factories to spark their creativity, and Viktoriya Braginsky won the award with this modern design, which reflects the talent of this young American artist. This design also available in a 10-inch vase.

Two-armed Crystal Candle Holder:

This artfully designed candle holder makes a bold statement on its own. Not only does it make a perfect gift for that special someone, but it is also a great housewarming present or for a birthday.

Whether you have a romantic, no-expense-spared evening planned, a low-key evening at home or a gathering of friends, Valentine’s day should be enjoyed. However you plan on spending Valentine’s Day this year, I hope you have a fantastic one!