If we had to pick one drink to have on Valentine’s Day, it’d have to be a Negroni. Not only because its bright red color makes us think about hearts, but because there’s a really sweet love story connected to Campari, the Italian aperitif that’s traditionally used in this cocktail. Campari was invented back in 1860 in Novara, Italy, but it was when the founder’s son, Davide Campari fell in love with opera singer Lina Cavalieri that things took off for the spirit. Davide asked Lina to model in a Campari ad, and then accompanied her on a global opera tour, setting up export markets around the world on their travels. So, we can all thank Lina and David for the Negroni.

Inspired by this story, and because it's almost Valentine's Day, we asked two San Francisco bartender couples to create special Campari cocktails, and tell us a little bit about what it’s like dating a fellow drink slinger, including which of the pair gets hit on more (oh come on, we had to ask!)

Meet Dominic Alling and Melissa Boyd

Dominic Alling, Bar Manager at Beretta; Melissa Boyd, Bartender at Beretta and Trick Dog

How did you meet? 

Melissa: At work,  funny enough. Although I swore off ever dating a co-worker, there was no denying our chemistry and attraction and after fighting that loving feeling for long enough. His infectious smile and charm wore me down, and I'm so so glad to have met him.    

What's the drink you make for your partner?

Dominic: Campari and soda. I don't even have to ask. I keep thinking that one day she will get sick of it, but it never happens.    

Melissa: He's always content with a beer and a shot of mezcal - though he'll happily take any cocktail I am "working on." He tends to favor smokey/citrusy or tropical flavors.  

Who makes the hangover breakfast?

Melissa: Dominic owns the kitchen. Anything he "throws" together is fantastic. We're big egg people. Okra, oxtail, and egg scramble with hot sauce followed by a heavy gym session. Hangover defeated.

What's the worst drink/shot you've ever made your partner?

Dominic: To my knowledge, I have never made her a bad drink or shot.     

Who gets hit on more at the bar?

Melissa: Dominic, hands down. Men, women and babies all love him. The guy is handsome, humble and intelligent. What's not to love?    

Dominic: She definitely gets hit on more and it's not surprising, she's a real beaut.   

Love Drunk 

Created by Dominic Alling and Melissa Boyd

1 oz. Campari

1 oz. Haymans Old Tom Gin

1 oz. Pomegranate-infused Lillet Rose 

1.5 oz. blood orange juice

.5 oz. cane syrup

Campari flakes

Coconut cream foam

Shake with ice and double strain into a highball.

Top with coconut cream foam and Campari flakes.

Campari Flakes recipe: Reduce 2 cups of Campari on high heat until it starts to boil. Pour a thin layer on a baking sheet and let cool. Once cool, chip away!

Coconut Foam recipe: Add coconut purée to an ISO whipping canister and dispense.

Meet Jared Anderson and Julie Thompson

Jared Anderson, Bartender at Comstock Saloon and 15 Romolo; Julie Thompson, Bartender and Resident Backscratcher at Rye

How did you meet?

Julie: We met on the Rye/Romolo camping trip to Russian River. A group of us went out to a field to watch a meteor shower and that's when we started chatting. We hit it off immediately and have been inseparable since.  

What's the drink you make for your partner?

Jared: Whatever whimsy I'm working on, or an Americano or a glass of red wine.

Julie: Usually I'll make whichever cocktail I'm currently working on, otherwise a scotch, neat. 

Who makes the hangover breakfast?

Julie: I make the hangover food, it's typically some variation of a rich veggie stew. And coffee, lots of coffee. 

What's the worst drink/shot you've ever made your partner?

Jared: Julie once gave me a ginormous shot, and I mean big, of Smith and Cross Navy Strength Rum. It put me on my ass, but she did make me hangover stew the next day.

Julie: Jared made me a gin and mushroom gravy shot once because I had lost a bet. It was terrible. 

Who gets hit on more at the bar?

Julie: Oh definitely Jared. Hands down. It's because he's so charming and nice.

Jared: Always, Julie. I don't get hit on.

A Bicycle Built for Two (Makes 2)

Created by Jared Anderson and Julie Thompson

In an 8oz. pop-top bottle combine:

1.5 oz. Campari

1.5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

.75 oz. fine strained lemon juice

1.5 oz. seltzer water

Top with Prosecco

Add a horse's neck of lemon zest to bottle. Close top and refrigerate. 

Serve cold in two chilled cordial glasses. Goes well with cookies, like these heart-shaped ones from Batter Bakery.

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