Date Night with Spirited Cocktails and America’s Test Kitchen Cookbooks

Soke Soda cansThe anticipation of a date can be a sweet, giddy buildup leading to a fabulous night, or it can be a harried, stressful feeling that doesn’t go away until your date does. While the flow (or lack) of conversation might not always be entirely under your control, the menu is something that can be. Using a cookbook is a simple hack to take the stress out of meal planning, and having some ready-to-drink cocktails on hand can take the evening up a notch without the added effort of mixing up tipples. Naturally, dates can be unpredictable, but having a few tricks up your sleeve to ensure the food and drinks will be enjoyable can help put your mind at ease—about the dinner portion of the evening, anyway.

Lychee Sake Soda

A Sweet Start with Soke Soda

If you’re hosting date night, then you may want to have some libations ready for when your guest arrives (or before, if you happen to enjoy a drink while you’re cooking!). Easy options like wine or beer can be a good choice, or, if you’re planning an alcohol-free evening, sparkling water can make for a nice offering. On the other hand, making cocktails is an impressive move, but for those of us who aren’t mixologists, a premixed cocktail can be a good stand-in.

One fun option is Soke, a sake soda from Spirited Brands. The drinks come in four flavors that can add a sweet note to the evening without the hassle of measuring and mixing. If you’re looking for something light and juicy, the Lychee and White Peach varieties fit the bill, while the Cherry Blossom flavor would be a good pairing with dessert. For something less sweet, the Yuzu Ginger flavor will likely be a hit with fans of ginger ale. 

Soula Pineapple Chili Margarita

Make it a Mexican Night with Soula

If you’re planning a date night that lands on a Taco Tuesday—or if you just love Mexican food—Soula would be a perfect fit for your dinner. Soula comes in four flavors of margaritas. The Pineapple Chili has a complex, sweet, and savory flavor while the Lime hits a classic note. Spirited’s Palamo Margarita doles out tart grapefruit appeal, and the Mango Citrus packs a bold mango punch. The sodas come in at 140 calories per can, and at 5% ABV, the alcohol content is similar to the alcohol content of most hard seltzers. 

Both Soke and Soula are available for purchase on Spirited Brand’s website

Cooking for Two Cookbook

Compliments to the Cookbook

Let’s face it, some folks are blessed with good instincts in the kitchen, and the rest, well, are a little less fortunate. Luckily, for those of us in the latter category, there are cookbooks to help us navigate the trickier parts of preparing a meal. America’s Test Kitchen has a variety of cookbooks fit for the task, including The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, 10th Anniversary Edition, an expanded version of the original New York Times bestseller. The new edition includes over 700 recipes and added information on hot topics like avoiding food waste and using up leftovers.

While testing out the book’s instructions for roasting cauliflower, I found it easy enough to use for a beginner while also including variations that would be useful to a more advanced cook.  

A Very Chinese Cookbook

Another beautiful cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, A Very Chinese Cookbook would be a good tool if you’re planning to serve Chinese food for your guest without having to hide the containers from your favorite carryout place. In this cookbook, the hosts of the YouTube series Hunger Pangs, Kevin and Jeffrey Pang, combine instructions for making American Chinese dishes like General Tso’s Chicken with editorial content like rules for Chinese dining etiquette. For the ambitious cook, there are also step-by-step tutorials for folding dumplings and hand-pulling noodles. 

Both books are full of mouthwatering images, making them fun to flip through. The hardback books are available at retailers like Target, and both hardback and Kindle versions can be found on Amazon.

Amy Hamblen

After spending over a decade in New York, Amy Hamblen is still impressively bad at giving directions around the city. Fortunately, not knowing one's exact whereabouts creates the opportunity to stumble into new places, so what she lacks in navigational skills, she makes up for with an abundance of solid happy hour recommendations. Amy is originally from Indiana, and whether or not her years spent covering the food and entertainment scene in NYC has earned her a seat at the table may be debatable, but it's of little consequence — she much prefers a stool at the bar.