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Let’s just call Valentine’s Day what it is — a test — and I’ll openly admit to what I am, a flunky. Which means that this year, not only did I completely neglect to get a gift for my sweet, patient, kind and deeply attractive PhoBlograpHusband, but whenever it did occur to me that I oughta do a V-Day cocktail for the blog, I’d be all, “Err, d’ya really think those guys [Ed. Note: that’s you] want a special drink for Valentine’s? I don’t know if they’d be into that…”

So this weekend, while away on a five-day, half-work/half-play trip to my old St. Louis stomping ground, I briefly mentioned to the PhoBlograpHusband via gchat that, if possible, it’d be great if he could whip up something holiday-appropriate while I was gone that we could then post. He’s in the middle of a large project right now for a class on Hollywood film musicals, which helps keep things spicy in our relationship by causing me to wonder on occasion just how gay he is, because he’s really into it, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, I brought it up once and that was that. And a couple of days later, he emails me the recipe and photos for the Is You Is My Baby. Now there is a man who can ace a test with flying colors even when it wasn’t a test I was actually bothering to proctor.

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I’m not the most romantic gal. I don’t need my drink to be pink just because it’s Valentine’s Day; a well-made Manhattan will always do just fine. (This was confirmed on Friday night, when my husband and I went out for an early V-Day round of rye perfect Manhattans at the original P.J. Clarke’s — specifically so we could gawk at this guy; the hubs has not stopped gushing about his “bartender mancrush” since.)

What I wanted to make for today’s cocktail was a concoction that simultaneously embraces and flouts every V-Day cliche on sale at Rite Aid: The pink, the chocolate, the faux-coyness, the girly-girlyness, etc. What I came up with is, in effect, a chocolate and blood orange Bellini. It’s quite palatable and easy-downing; it’s nothing too rough/jaded/forward but it’s still got complexity; and it’ll getcha toasted long before you realize just how toasted you are.

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