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The Perfect Recipe for a Valentine's Date Night At Home

Melissa Baran

When Valentine's Day falls on a Wednesday, a date night at home sounds incredibly appealing. It might be the fact that I have a tiny human and enjoy an early bedtime now—but I also kind of love the idea of skipping the crowds and doing something a little more intimate in the comfort of our abode. You with me? Then you'll want to fully soak up this inspiration from Marie Flanigan and Alba Huerta. From setting the table to mixing up cocktails, Julie Soefer captured it all and it's the perfect blueprint for a date night in!

Set the Stage

Mix It Up – Just because you aren’t hosting 20 people for a holiday dinner doesn’t mean your table should be neglected! Why not pull together settings using your family’s finest to create a moment that feels grand and unforgettably special? While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to mix and match place settings; old meets new and varied patterns and finishes come together for a look that feels casual yet sophisticated, and by pairing plates and silverware of varying styles in the same color palette, your table becomes a true celebration of texture! Master Monochromatic Mood – V-Day doesn’t mean you’ve gotta’ go wild with the red and pink! Timeless monochromatic settings are brain soothers after a long day at the office and they serve up an attractive backdrop to the delicious food you’ll be plating. When you’re opting for a monochromatic moment, bring in rich textures through the use of placemats, linens, and runners. Chunky weaves layered against the gloss of a fresh white place setting lends depth and interest to a peaceful tablescape. Waste Not, Want Not – There’s no need to run out and buy new table décor. Get creative and use elements you already have around your home, like garden greenery, fruit, baskets, jars, and votive candles, to set the mood. DIY-Queens looking for something more? Pull out your leftover holiday ribbon or twine to craft impromptu napkin rings and adorn leaves with you and your honey’s nicknames in gold paint pen for that extraordinary finishing touch.

Bring it Behind the Bar

Get Fresh – Fresh juice, that is! Alba recommends fresh juice when crafting cocktails to enhance the flavor and heighten the visual experience. Same goes for using fresh fruits and herbs as garnish. Give ‘Em Some Sugar – Alba shares that the best simple syrups are crafted by hand and they’re not difficult to make! Dissolve sugar into super-hot water, allow it to cool, and then get mixing! Shake Things Up [or Shall We Stir?] – Unless you’re making a classic martini, it can be tough to know which cocktails should be shaken and which should be stirred. Alba offers up a tip worth memorizing: Shake the drinks that have juice in them and stir the drinks that don’t. Of course, you will always find exceptions, so, when in doubt, taste test it out!  

Pack a Punch

Although mixing a specialty cocktail for your loved one is a super thoughtful experience, there are times when you want to be more present and less concerned with constantly whipping up drinks! Alba suggests a punch for precisely those moments because they have a welcoming intent that feels warm and celebratory. Best of all, you can mix up a batch before your beau gets home, sip, and easily refill throughout the night!

Photography: Julie Soefer | Design + Styling: Marie Flanigan | Mixologist: Alba Huerta | Place Settings, Drink Mixing Utensils and Glassware: Kuhl-Linscomb