ou probably remember those candy conversation hearts you bought once you were a child, and maybe, like us, you’re nostalgic for the glow of young love (ah, young love). or even you only like biting into sugary hearts that say “TXT ME.”
Despite their modern messages, the candies have actually been around since 1866, and every year, quite 8 billion of the hearts are cut out at Necco’s Boston headquarters. once they first launched, the hearts came in several shapes with longer sayings. lately, the Sweethearts get an annual update to their flavors and much-shortened messages. This year saw “PUGS & KITTENS” and “BFF” added to the lineup, and, capitalizing on the emoji craze, mustaches, and happy faces.
But this year, you do not need to pound the candies straight. We reached bent bartenders and bakers around the country and asked them for more unique ways to include the hearts into your Valentine Day.
At Trick Dog in San Francisco, creative director Morgan Schick shakes up a tangy-sweet cocktail (pictured above) that incorporates 1½ ounces Encanto Pisco, ¾ ounce Pineau des Charentes, ½ ounce pineapple syrup, ¼ ounce Framboise, ¾ ounce juice, and ¾ ounce albumen. Shake without ice, then add ice and shake again. Strain into a coupe glass and float ¾ ounce wine on top. do not be daunted by this last part: Cut an ingenious candy heart-appropriate phrase (i.e., “Be Mine”) into a sheet of reasonably sturdy plastic. Fill a sprig bottle with Angostura bitters. Hold the stencil on the brink of the highest of the albumen foam and spray. Smile before the primary sip.
At Spirited in Brooklyn, owner Kimberly Wetherell may be a double threat: a baker and a bartender. to form a version of her Drambuie-laced candy heart truffles reception, sort the candies by color, then pulverize them to powder during a blender. Combine the butter in your favorite truffle recipe with the guts “dust” and Drambuie, which helps cut a number of the sweetness. Roll into spheres then read tempered semi-sweet chocolate for the right finish.
In Atlanta, Craft Izakaya bartender Arianne Fielder makes a clever aperitif with candy heart-infused vodka. Here’s how: Fill a Mason jar with 4 cups vodka; add a whole bag of candy. Allow the hearts to dissolve, periodically shaking the jar. Strain the mixture through a filter or cheesecloth, and store within the refrigerator until able to use. Add ¾ ounce Cocchi Rosa and 4 dashes grapefruit bitters to 1½ ounces of the infused vodka. Add ice and stir. Strain into a flute or coupe, and top with 3 ounces dry wine.
And back in Brooklyn, Penny Stankiewicz at Sugar Couture zips up basic sugar cookies with ½ teaspoon of flavorer and a dose of chocolate (to make chocolate dough, simply replace a fourth of the flour involved with cocoa powder). Cover the cooled cookies with royal icing and pop a couple of carefully selected conversation hearts on while the icing remains wet. Sure beats the chalky stuff straight.