Looking to impress your Galentines or your special someone this Valentine’s Day? Show off your bartending skills with our take on “The Bitter Valentine”, which is a tequila based drink featured on The Drink Blog It’s a hilariously clever post and we couldn’t help making our own riff using our sugar alternative. We added our jammiest blend of wine grape sugar in place of strawberry liqueur and found it to be the perfect replacement. Plus, this cocktail is easy to make and sure to be unlike anything your Valentine has ever had! valentines cocktail

Tasting Attributes: Bored-O Rouge adds a bold dark berry finish that compliments the flavors of the bitters and the vermouth

The reason we love this cocktail recipe is because it's far from an average tequila drink and is a great addition to any home bartender’s arsenal of recipes. While we personally love the original addition of amaro, we switched things up and substituted with an Italian bitter liqueur and vermouth, which are commonly blended together with gin to make a classic negroni. Both are also served by themselves after a meal in many European countries and becoming more popular in the states as well. But combined with tequila and grape nectar, the combination is sure to enlighten the palate.

The highlight of this drink is the true complexity of flavors: from the spirits, to our richest blend of grape nectar, to the start of the season strawberries and fresh lemon. The liqueur and vermouth maintain the bitter nature of the original cocktail and impart earthy and botanical notes, while the tequila adds nice warming, vanilla flavor. Don’t be afraid to mix spirits and try something new!

The Bored-O Rouge blend of our natural sweeteners is substituted for a strawberry liqueur in the original recipe and we chose this blend because it can stand up to the intense flavors of the spirits and adds that perfect touch of sweetness. Plus it’s high level of antioxidants and low sugar content compared to many sugar-laden liqueurs on the market are an added bonus! You will also find that it enhances the spiciness and adds a deep and lingering finish to the cocktail. 

While we often use our cabernet blend of grape nectar to replace sweet vermouth in cocktail recipes, this recipe was not complete without the Padró & Co. Rojo Amargo vermouth. Just as they describe it, this is one of the most “charismatic” vermouths we have encountered and found it to be a must-have in this recipe. We love the fruit elements that finish off this recipe, as they add a nice balance and a touch of freshness to the deep flavors. Both you and your Valentine taste buds will be very pleased with the final product!

As always, we suggest using the highest quality of ingredients for this recipe and that includes the tequila. The best possible option to go for in any tequila-based drink is a quality craft 100% agave tequila. We played around and found a reposado tequila rounded out the cocktail nicely without overpowering the other ingredients or the deliciously bold notes of our Bored-O Rouge wine grape sugar. Blanco tequila was a little too sharp and anejo tequila was a little too sweet and soft, while reposado was just right. But you be the judge - make it your own.

This cocktail holds so many delicious flavors and with the California grape nectar twist, it may be one you will be making all year round. Bittersweet Valentine is the perfect way to #drinkbetter this Valentine’s Day!

valentines cocktail





  • 1.25 oz reposado tequila
  • 0.75 oz Padro Rojo Vermouth
  • 0.5 bitter liquor (we like Tuvé Bitter)
  • 0.5 oz Bored-O Rouge California Grape Nectar
  • 0.5 lemon juice


  1. Add all ingredients to a boston shaker with ice. Shake vigorously - shake your heart out!
  2. Strain into a coupe or martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a rose or any other festive garnish. Enjoy with or without your valentine!
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