Valentine's Day cocktails

24 January 2011

RSC'S new Rooftop Restaurant and Bar makes Shakespeare inspired cocktails for Valentine's Day

Rob Hall, the Assistant Bar Manager of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Rooftop Restaurant in the newly transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon didn't have to go far to get inspiration to produce two brand new cocktails for Valentine's Day. He asked RSC Chief Associate Director, Gregory Doran for advice.

Doran only had to look in his own recently published book, The Shakespeare Almanac, to find some inspiration:

In The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare mentions a number of sweetmeats and confectioneries. The larger than life character, Falstaff greeting Mrs Ford at Herne's Oak says:

'Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Greensleeves; hail kissing comfits and snow enrigoes. Let there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here' (Act 5, Scene 5)

Kissing Comfits were perfumed sugar plums and used as breath sweeteners. Enrigoes were made from the candied roots of sea holly, which had aphrodisiac properties, as, apparently had sweet potatoes.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream – Shakespeare writes about young lovers, lust, longing and magic:

'I know a bank where the wild thyme blows Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows Quite o'er canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk roses and with eglantine There sleeps Titania some hour of the night Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight' (Act 2, Scene 1)

The leaves of the eglantine (a kind of sweet briar rose which smelled of apples when crushed) were used as breath fresheners. Also from A Midsummer Night's Dream:

'Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell; It fell upon a little western flower, Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound, And maidens call it love-in-idleness' (Act 2, Scene 1)

Love in idleness (the love potion flower used by Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream), is actually a wild pansy.

Rob took these thoughts and quotes from Shakespeare's plays to make two cocktails especially for customers coming to the Rooftop Restaurant on Valentine's Day and said:

'Valentine's Day is round the corner, and we think that the RSC's Rooftop Restaurant is the perfect place for people to book a romantic night out for two. We want to give them something truly unique that reflects the environment of Shakespeare's theatre and has a real connection to his plays – as well as maybe adding some spice and romance.'

Rob went on to describe his two cocktails: 'Juliet (or Smoked Rose), which is served in a martini glass, is a heady mix which includes smoked blueberries, a maraschino cherry, spiced rum, crème de mure and rose bud infused syrup.'

'Romeo (or Dark Rose) is served in a short glass and the ingredients I've put together include blackberries, violet infused syrup, apple, calvados and lime juice.'

'I hope they both have the desired effect,' added Rob.

Further information

For more information please contact Dean Asker in the RSC Press Office on 01789 412660 – Or Nada Zakula on 01789 412622 or

Date of issue: 24 January 2011

Notes to Editors:
  • The cocktails are available at the RSC Rooftop Restaurant Bar at £7.50 each and £14 for the pair
  • Photographs of the cocktails - Romeo and Juliet available on request
  • The RSC Rooftop Restaurant Valentine's menu is available on Friday 11, Saturday 12 and Monday 14 February from 7:15pm, and on Sunday 13 February from 12 noon.
  • The Valentine's Menu includes 3 courses and a glass of something special upon arrival for £42 per person. Each couple will also receive a complimentary copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets.
  • More information including menu details available on
  • Tables can be reserved by calling 01789 403449.
  • Gregory Doran's The Shakespeare Almanac, a day-by-day calendar of Shakespare's year is published by Hutchinson and available at the RSC shop.

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