W Hotels Valentine's Day lush list

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The Sweet Tart
  • The Sweet Tart
About a week ago, I braved the cold, wet Atlanta night to check out a preview event held at Whiskey Park. The very intimate soiree titled, "Love & Bites" was an invite-only preview of the Gerber Group's Valentine's Day/seasonal drink menu additions. The Gerber Group who owns Whiskey Park and Whiskey Blue located inside the W Hotels Midtown and Buckhead, respectively, revise their drink menu regularly to reflect seasonal themes and ingredients. With Valentines approaching, it seems the mixologist kicked whimsy in overdrive to develop a trio of unique gastronomic offerings.

For my first sampling of the night, I decided to try the Candy Heart, a chocolate liqueur, vodka-laced martini. At first glance it looks like any other chocolate concoction until you see the bartender pour this thick, red potion containing strawberry puree and whipped cream on the corner of the glass. The heavy crimson mix retreats to the bottom, but leaves a red spot that transforms into a rustic heart once a stirrer is drug through its center. How clever is that? Aesthetics aside, the Candy Heart is a rich, cocoa-infused mash up of party chic and nostalgia. Taking the first sip, the creamy libation taste less like a martini and more like melted neapolitan ice cream. For anyone who loves the tri-flavored ice cream, is at its absolute best when it starts to melt and the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors start to merge. Once you reach the bottom of the glass, you're left with a tasty treat of the fresh strawberry mixture that surprisingly tastes like pure candy on the finish. While it may not be the most masculine of drinks, this is a sure fire for a girls night out or a sure fire conversation starter and possibly as one guy told me while at the party that night, LPR - liquid panty remover.

Next, I tried the Love Potion No. 9, a rather exotic take on an island mimosa. Stoli Vanilla and Watermelon Pucker is mixed with pineapple and cranberry juice then topped with champagne to make this toned, yet bubbly drink. Normally I'd swill a mimosa down with what best can be described as 'gusto', but with No. 9, I had to sip it to take on all the flavors I was assaulted with. Not quite sweet, and definitely not sour, this rather heavy drink thanks to the pineapple juice requires a more refined palette to appreciate the subtle aphrodisiac qualities it has. Paired with a lavish meal or a decadent desert No. 9, is a surefire preamble to a "festive" night for any foodie or maybe your regular NPR listening variety.

Finally I tried the Sweet Tart. I purposely saved this for last only because Sweet Tarts are my favorite Halloween candy and so the drink should be given the same amount of reverie. As i write this, it made complete sense to me at the time of drinking. Put simply, the Sweet Tart is a clever gnash of Stoli Raspberry, simple syrup lemon juice and strawberry jam, shaken and poured in a highball glass and topped with a splash of champagne. The moment the burnt orange liquid hits the tongue you're treated to a well balanced mix of sweet and sour obviously from the tart lemon and sugary mix of syrup and jam. But what makes the Sweet Tart a gem is the finish - it remarkably resembles the candy its aptly named for. By the time the confectionery novelty wears off, you've had at least two or three drinks. Well played Gerber, well played indeed.

Having sampled all three of the drinks making the debut that night, I rounded off the evening with Mediterranean hor d'oeuvres and idle chat about two of my favorite subjects - movies and SEC football.

The Candy Heart, Love Potion No. 9 and the Sweet Tart will be available on Whiskey Park and Whiskey Blue drink menus through Mid March. Whiskey Blue will host another Full Moon at Whiskey Blue on Friday, Feb. 18, starting at 9pm.

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