Long story short Father Valentine was a priest around 207 A.D. in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families at home, so he outlawed marriage for all young men. Father Valentine, being the romantic that he was saw this as a a terrible injustice. Then decided it was in the best interest to defied Claudius and continue to perform marriages for young lovers in a secret ceremony. Valentine was soon discovered for his actions, and Claudius ordered that he be put to death by being split publicly from "tip to taint." Then his still beating heart skewered with an arrow and displayed for the entire town to see. I know, touching right?
The Christians soon after declared Valentine a martyr. The Pagans began to celebrate Lupercalia, which was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat's hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides, like the greatest new fragrance by Brittney Spears or book by Nicholas Sparks because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. I don't know about you but this sounds a lot like a 1970's "key party." These matches often ended in marriage.
The Christians said "neh, neh!" and tried to Christianize the holiday much like they are currently trying to do through Tim Tebow and football. In turn calling this time The Festival of St. Valentine. Yada, yada, yada... Budda bing, budda bang, budda boom, several years later February 14th in France and England during the Middle Ages was marked as the beginning of the birds mating season and this day should be marked for romance. Thus the saying "Love is in the air."
The oldest known Valentine's Day note was from Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture during battle. King Henry V hired a writer to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois. Valentine's Day really became popular in the 17th century 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures.
Today Hallmark and many other companies out there survive mainly due to this holiday. Florists, jewelers and chocolate makers all over the world salivate come January 31st just waiting for all you poor schlubbs to come running to them for the perfect words to sign there names next to in a card or tell them what shiny object will send that special someone to get all tarted up and spun into shear clothing tearing ecstasy. So you can do all the weird stuff in a bed you sprinkled with rose peddles, and sprayed with Drakkar Noir, that you might not get away with had you not shown up with a box of chocolates and a huge teddy bear. Ahhhhh love... ain't it just grand?
Well in honor of Valentines Day everywhere I will do a few days of the perfect cocktail to lube the wheels of love. So get the satin sheets on the bed, get the fireplace started and cue the Luther Vandross music because I'm getting romantic on you all weather you like it or not!
Pink Chocolate Martini
1 oz. - Vanilla Vodka
1 oz. - Creme de Cacao
1 oz. - Amaretto
1 oz. - Godiva White Chocolate liqueur
Splash of Grenadine
Splash of half and half
Shake over ice and strain
Drizzle glass lightly with Strawberry Syrup
Garnish with a Hershey Kiss in the bottom of the glass
and a skewered cherry