Choosing a fun drinking spot at which to spend Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming. If you want to please your loved one without pressure, Sexy Taco, Dirty Cash (161 Malcolm X Boulevard, 212-280-4700) has a few tongue-in-cheekily titled cocktails in the works to loosen things up. The Harlem taqueria/cocktail bar’s menu is full of double entendres, one of which, the “Victor’s Secret,” is a twist on a cosmo, the drink linked inextricably to a certain quartet of ladies with relationship woes who live and have sex in the city.
Owner Brian Washington-Palmer wanted to create a tipple that would pack a punch but remain easy to sip. While he was inspired by the cosmo, he had Victoria’s Secret on his mind. Women may love shopping there, but he figured that naming a drink after a lingerie store might alienate some male guests.
“It’s very nicely balanced. Citrus and basil are kind of herbaceous,” Washington-Palmer says. The fresh basil delivers a distinctive flavor note, and the addition of elderflower liqueur adds a layer of sweet florals — it might be the most potent flower you’ll encounter on Valentine’s Day.
Victor’s Secret by Brian Washington-Palmer
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce basil syrup*
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass.
*To make the basil syrup:
Dissolve a 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup boiling water. Add a small handful of fresh basil leaves (eight leaves total should be good). Let the mixture sit for 1 1/2 hours to cool. Strain out the basil leaves.