originally posted at ChefsLine 16 Jan 2009

Heads up, guys: 30 days until Valentine’s Day. Don’t let it sneak up on you, because you can bet your girlfriend remembers, or that girl you have a crush on who comes into the coffee shop every morning. Good planning can be as essential for a pleasurable Valentine’s Day experience as it is for Christmas, birthdays, or anniversaries.

Whatever sort of plan you come up with, whether it’s dinner out, a romantic meal at home, dancing, what have you, it might be good to keep in mind that, ideally, the night ends with your lover in your arms. So I would like to share a couple of dessert cocktail ideas with you that make you feel as good as they taste.

These drinks include phytonutrients proven to boost overall health and well-being, and which also offer the promises of increased libido and improved sexual performance.

The trick is to plan ahead, so when you catch a cab home from the couples slow dance marathon you already have the ingredients ready for your Valentine’s Day ’09 nightcaps. You’ll also be planning ahead for the next morning, when you won’t be hung over.

Fresh Ginger Blueberry Champagne Cocktail:
Ginger contains blood-thinning and belly-calming elements, and prevents nausea. Plus it’s got a wonderful zesty spiciness that leaves just a touch of a burn after each sip.

Blueberries are a ‘superfruit,’ containing tons of antioxidants, dietary fiber and micronutrients, most notably manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Together the ginger and blueberries create a remarkable cocktail with beautiful color.

To prepare this cocktail, make a simple blueberry syrup by combining 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) in a small saucepan and bringing it to a rolling boil for 2-3 minutes. Then press the syrup through a screen strainer with the back of a spoon and allow it to cool. Extract the juice from the fresh ginger root by putting it into a garlic press or grating it and then pressing the grated pulp in a screen strainer with the back of a spoon as you did the blueberries. For each cocktail, combine 4 tsp of the blueberry syrup, 1 tsp of the ginger juice, 1 Tbsp orange juice, and 2/3 cup of champagne. Serve in a champagne flute.

Chocolate Chile Rumtini:
It should be no secret that chocolate stimulates. It increases circulatory and brain activity, and triggers heightened sensitivity and feelings of euphoria. If you attribute the spicy burn from chiles to powerful nutritive effects, then your instincts are spot on. Chiles (chili peppers) contain capsaicin, a cancer-fighting anesthetic that also acts as an anti-inflammatory and kills the bacteria that cause such health problems as stomach ulcers.

To make a Chocolate Chile Rumtini:
Gently simmer 3-4 small dried red chiles in 3/4 cup of cream and 1/4 cup of sugar. The longer you keep it heated the hotter it will get. Gently melt 8 oz of dark (bittersweet) chocolate in a double boiler with 1/4 cup of sugar. Remove from heat. Swirl together the chocolate and chile cream so that you get a defined swirl shape and pour the mixture into ice cube trays. Freeze for at least an hour. Pour 1/2 cup of vodka and 2 Tbsp chocolate liqueur over ice and shake or stir thoroughly. Pour the alcohol over the chocolate chile crème “ice cubes.” You may substitute rum for the vodka, and may garnish the rim of the glass or drink with cocoa, mint, cherries or cinnamon.

So this Valentine’s Day, or any time you want to make the most of a cocktail celebration, try either or both of the above cocktails. You’ll thank me in the morning.

For more on healthy cocktail combos, check out this Women’s Health article. And have fun cooking something up for V-Day.