Four A's and a J for Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2012

photo: Warren Bobrow - Leica M8, Summicron F2/50mm

Four A’s and a J

I created the Four A’s and a J for my wife, Julie- who always got straight A’s in school.  This combination of charred Driscoll Strawberries (always organic) muddled with Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth along with a new discovery, the brilliant and sweetly savory, Alchemia infused Vodkas plus the added hit of Atlantico Platino Rum from the Dominican Republic is stirring up my morning. 

Not that I need any more stirring up. 

There is a bagel in the toaster oven- courtesy of Julie along with some gorgeous smoked salmon from Scotland along with some whipped cream cheese.  All the things I need to fortify myself before the pleasurable task of creating cocktails starts once again...

This delicious cocktail was created with ingredients that will charm, delight and quite possibly inebriate the imbiber.  The intent of this drink is to give pleasure and take away worry- if only for a short time.  Isn’t that why we enjoy cocktails?

I’ve taken Driscoll Strawberries and toasted them in a sauté pan until they get crispy. Then I let them cool ever so slightly.  They go into a mixing glass, I take the small end of a wooden spoon and start crushing them, releasing their perfume.  Next a good splash of the salubrious Sweet Vermouth named Carpano Antica Formula. 

This is my go/to for Vermouth. 

Continue muddling (crushing) the fruit.  Next you add about a shot of the Alchemia Wild Cherry infused Vodka and a shot of the Alchemia Chocolate infused Vodka. 

Finally (if there wasn’t enough liquor in this drink already) I add a shot of Atlantico Platino Rum from the Dominican Republic.    

But what makes this drink so delicious?  What makes it a cocktail instead of just a bunch of liquors mixed together?

One of the pleasures of the winter is the availability of Blood Orange juice.  I adore this juice.  It stains my fingers, the cutting board and my knives. 

They don’t call them Blood Oranges for nothing.  The juice is the color of blood!  What better juice for a cocktail based on the principals of love?

I’m not sure.  Some drink Champagne on Valentine’s Day.  Others- Tequila, Gin, Tuaca and Champagne. (For an extra kick in the Tuchas)

In my 4 A’s and a J cocktail the extra kick is supplied by the addition of the Platino Rum!

All I can say is be careful. 

And please have a fabulous Valentine’s Day!

The Fours A’s and a J Cocktail


1 Shot of Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth

1 Shot Czekoladowa Alchemia Chocolate – Infused Chocolate Vodka (perhaps the best Chocolate Vodka I’ve ever tried, it ROCKS)

1 Shot Czekoladowa Alchemia Wild Cherry (see above for the Chocolate Vodka)

1 Shot Atlantico Platino Rum (This is the real thing!)

Six Driscoll Strawberries seared then cooled (They are juicy love in every bite)

Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters (perhaps the most unique cocktail aromatics I've enjoyed as of yet)

Perrier Water (French and precious)

6 oz. freshly squeezed Blood Orange juice


Sear the Driscoll Berries in a smoking hot sauté pan set aside to cool

When cool, muddle the berries with a shot of the Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth

Fill cocktail shaker ½ with ice

Add the Vodkas

Add the Rum

Add the Blood Orange juice

Stir to combine- Do not shake!

Strain into two Champagne coupe’ glasses then finish with a splash of Perrier to add a bit of lift to the cocktail.

Add two drops of Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters

Garnish with a slice of a seared strawberry. 

Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!