Date Night Cocktail Recipes

Jean-Vital Castellani

How did you become a mixologist?
When I was working as a chef in Australia, I did a one-day shift making cocktails beside the head bartender of the restaurant. The entire experience was amazing, but the part I enjoyed the most was the interaction with customers and the direct, immediate satisfaction I saw on their faces when they liked what I created. From there I trained hard to become a bartender and have been fortunate enough to work in some of the most beautiful places in the world.

What do you love about making cocktails?
I love how clean and sharp the final product is. The process can take multiple steps and involve lots of instruments and ingredients, but what the customer gets is a beautiful, carefully crafted drink that's elegantly presented in stunning glassware. For me the key to a great rum cocktail is understanding the different styles of rum and experimenting with iconic Caribbean flavors. This is why I love to introduce cooking into my recipes; to try and discover new ways of imparting flavor or garnishing.

What's the best rum cocktail recipe for beginners?
Rum Old Fashioned, Palmetto, which is a Rum-based Manhattan, and the classic Strawberry Daiquiri. Any drinker can appreciate these beloved classics, that also make the best Valentines Day cocktails. After you've mastered these, try some Tiki cocktails like the Zombie and iconic Mai Tai.

Jean-Vital Castellani

Mayfair, London, UK

12+ years as chef at the amazing Hyatt Hotels in Sydney and London before moving behind the bar. Brand Ambassador for Grand Marnier.

Favorite Cocktail:
Mezcal Paloma because of the light smokiness of the Mezcal and the bitter freshness of Pink Grapefruit.

What's your favorite Waterford glass?
I love simple and classic glassware, and the Mixology Rum collection is a fantastic example of this. My favorites from the collection are the Hurricane and the Double Old Fashioned. The Hurricane is elegant and brings added excitement to punchy tiki cocktails. I also have to mention the Lismore Diamond Tumbler - this is simply a stunning glass.

What are the upcoming cocktail trends?
I think Highball cocktails still have some good days up ahead. I think nowadays more and more people are enjoying low ABV and non-alcoholic cocktails, and the fruity Highball style, with its small amount of alcohol and large proportion of non-alcoholic mixer, fits this perfectly. This style also lends itself perfectly to Valentines' Day cocktails - the perfect meal will taste even better with a clear head.

Jean-Vital's Date Nights Cocktails


  • In a highball glass, add 2 oz of white rum, ¾ oz of rose and berries syrup, ¾ of lime juice and ½ oz of Crème de Framboise
  • Add a handful of fresh raspberries and fresh mint leaves
  • Fill your highball to the rim with crushed ice and stir
  • Top up with soda water and garnish with a mint bouquet, rose petals and 2-3 presses of rose spray.

Rum Negroni

  • In a tumbler, add ¾ oz of Campari, ¾ oz of Vermouth Rosso and 1¾ oz of aged rum.
  • Fill the tumbler with ice cubes and gently stir.
  • Garnish with a wedge of fresh orange.

Mai Tai

  • Chill a tumbler by filing it to the rim with crushed ice
  • In a cocktail shaker, add ½ oz of orgeat syrup, ½ oz of triple sec, 1 ¾ oz of 7 yrs aged rum and the juice of one whole lime
  • Fill the mixing glass with ice cubes, attach the lid and shake
  • Attach a strainer to your shaker and pour into your glass
  • Garnish with a mint bouquet and one whole cherry.

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