An Intimate Lovers Nightcap
It’s been a few weeks since Valentine’s Day. Have you done anything since then to show your significant other—or anybody you love, really—just how much you care about them?
Romance to me isn’t about grandiose, sweeping gestures, jumbo-tron proposals (eww!), or once a year long-stem rose deliveries. In the same way I love to celebrate the joy in the every-day, I think we all ought to recognize the love we have for each other whenever we can.
Perhaps from now until next Valentine's Day (or really, for all eternity!), consider the small things you do for those you love. How can you add a little more loving delight to their day?
As a calligrapher and designer I work with letters and words daily, and that's often led me to think about how the art of writing letters has fallen by the wayside. My friend and collaborator Jenny wrote:
“From Lord Byron to Napoleon, history is dotted with the beautiful words of people in love. Throughout time, lovers have expressed their love, lust, admiration, and obsession for each other through written word. What could be a better keepsake of someone than a thick stack of letters from them? But as relationships and the structure of life have changed, we have forgotten the importance of words. Letters and poetry are now mass produced by machines and we have lost the intimacy that they used to represent.”
Do something truly meaningful by writing your partner a letter or a poem. Sure, very few of us are able to make romantic words flow onto paper with ease, but I can’t imagine anything more romantic than the vulnerability of expressing your deepest thoughts and feelings.
Take inspiration from Shakespeare and Lord Byron, and many of the men and women in history that have joyfully (and sometimes sorrowfully!) penned their innermost feelings for their own loves.
“I care not who knows this, what use is made of it—it is to you and to you only, yourself. I was, and am yours, freely and entirely, to obey, to honour, love and fly with you, when, where, and how, yourself might and may determine.”
– Lord Byron’s words to Lady Caroline Lamb
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
- Shakespeare, Sonnet 18
If you fancy setting the scene even more, we’ve envisioned a romantic nightcap of oysters and a ginger cocktail (both aphrodisiacs, wink!) to inspire mellow romance. For some variety we've used the charmingly weird citrus known as Buddha's Hand (the yellow thing below) which is only used for its peel and has an incredibly alluring lemon fragrance.
Oysters with Buddha's Hand Citron Mignonette
- 1 dozen oysters on the half shell, mildly salty ones such as Flap Jacks or Kusshi
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Buddha’s hand zest, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve with fresh oysters.
Citron Ginger Mule
For the infused gin:
- 1 cup buddha’s hand zest, cleaned and cut into strips
- 1 cup gin
Combine the zest and gin in a clean glass jar or bottle. Allow to infuse for at least 2 days. Shake every so often. After 2 weeks, make sure to thoroughly strain out the solids.
For the cocktail:
- 2 oz buddha’s hand infused gin
- 3 oz grapefruit juice
- 8 drops grapefruit bitters
- ginger beer
- buddha’s hand zest, thin strip for garnish
Combine the gin, grapefruit juice, and bitters in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until the shaker has frosted over. Strain into 2 coupe glasses and top with a generous splash of ginger beer. Garnish with a strip of buddha’s hand zest.
Photography and Recipes by Jenny Huang www.hellomydumpling.com | Calligraphy by Chavelli Tsui
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