Maybe you've been together since before the first lockdown. Maybe you found each other before the second and decided to bubble up for it. Whichever it is, it's important to keep the romance going at home. Here's how to do date night the lockdown way.
Image: Pretty Woman, Touchstone Pictures
First, have a bath/shower, wash (and brush!) your hair and put some god damn clothes on. No, not your sweatpants. Something nice and non-elasticated. You're trying to recapture the magic, and 3-day old cereal stains don't say "hot date", they say "hot mess".
Secondly, set the mood and recreate your fave date restaurant or bar in your living room. If you're trying to recapture the magic of your first date, cut all the lights and spark a sh*t loada candles to recreate some Gordon's Wine Bar vibes (we've all had a first date at Gordon's, right?); or if you wanna go mega romantic, dig out the Christmas lights and stick 'em to the ceiling with some flowers from the local shops - you'll think you're chilling on Dalloway Terrace, or beneath the canopy of Clos Maggiore.
Now put on some Marvin Gaye, dig out your best crockery, and get ready for the best date* of your lives.
In true date style, start with cocktails. Maybe you've had a stressful day of Zoom calls with your team, or your Sims accidentally died in the pool - either way, you wanna leave the drama of your day behind and kick date night off with a banging tipple or two.
Start your night with Aperitivo Hour and one of Bar Swift's bottled cocktails. This rainbow collection of serves come from the upstairs menu at this legendary Soho joint. Drink 'em on their own or spritz them up with your fave sparkling wine and soda. We dig the Solstice Spritz which brings all the mid-Summer vibes regardless of the weather outside with a blend of Martini Bitter, blood orange vermouth and passionfruit. Saluti!
Nothing impresses BarChick more than when a date suggests going to an award-winning bar. But spoiler alert, ya can't do that right now. What you can do is get them to deliver their rockstar cocktails to your door to enjoy for date night. You can get a selection of Tayer + Elementary's (AKA the 50 Best Bar Awards No.5 for 2020) cocktails delivered via Top Cuvee & Cask Liquid Marketing, including their Palo Santo Gimlet, Sandalwood Martini and Bergamot Margarita... Ding dong!
If you wanna make date night a bit spicy, this delivery will get you hot under the collar. New Covid-19 kids on the block, the Lockdown Liquor Co. launched from within the depths of this pandemic and they've started off STRONG with a choice of two absolute bangers; the gin-laced cucumber, lime and mint based Pepino, and one of our all-time faves: the sweet and fiery Picante. HOT DAMN!
Buy a 4-serve bottle from the Lockdown Liquor Co here. And P.S Proceeds are being donated to NHS Charities Together. Philanthropy is sexy, guys. Your S.O will be impressed.
Are oysters on a date a cliche? Maybe. But hey, we've been locked down for almost 8 weeks now so if you wanna get in the mood, chuck a few of the Oystermen's dozen down the hatch and you'll be golden! Their fresh deliveries include an oyster knife so you can get a good shucking in before the main course. Open wide!
To get your night off to a shucking good start, order from The Oystermen here. Not tried oysters before? Check out our guide to these slippery suckers.
Nothing says "I love you" like cooking up your bae a meal from scratch, right? Even better when you knock up something with the ingredients you've already got lying around that might have otherwise gone to waste. Double whammy, baby! The "Waste Not Want Not" campaign in association with some of the nation's most kick-ass chefs & the crew at Black Cow Vodka will help you knock up a wicked dish or two. How about trying out this ultra-luxe boozy cheese fondue a la gastro-legend Mark Hix? We all know cheese and vodka is the best way to anyone's heart, yo!
Put the cream, Black Cow cheese and vodka into a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stir-every so often until the cheese has melted and the mixture is of a thick, sauce-like consistency. If you have a fondue set then simply put the ingredients into the pot, light the burner and stir every so often. Season to taste and add more vodka if you wish. To serve, carefully skewer anything you wish to dip (ie potatoes, gherkins, fresh or cooked vegetables etc) onto a fondue skewer or wooden kebab stick and get stuck in.
Catch up on the Waste Not Want Not cooking series over here.
Noone quite does romance like the French. That saucy lot nail it every damn time. Adopt an accent and serve your lover up one of the sweet tarte tatin or decadent mousse au Chocolat from quaint and hella romantic French bistro La Poule au Pot in the heart of Belgravia. From Wednesday to Saturday you can order their sexy menu for collection to then enjoy at home, from elegant starters to hearty, luxurious mains and of course, banging pastries and puds. Ouais, putain!
You've done dinner. Now it's time for the movie portion of your date. Good thing is when the cinema is actually your living room, you're always in the back row, so chances of slipping your arm around their shoulder and getting a cheeky snog are high. Just pick the right movie, yeh? These are our suggestions (and we've done the hard work and paired 'em with some epic drinks for you too. Def better than a large syrupy cola and a plastic straw!)
If you're looking for an authentic cinema experience, how about lighting up one of these bad boys? These Scents of Normality candles are hand-poured in East London and kick out the smells of your fave familiar places currently out of reach. The Cinema candle is a heady fusion of salt popcorn, foam banana and glistening hot dog, enveloped in a fug of recirculated air. A waft of cloistered contraband chicken meets the allium tang of adolescent boredom, laced with juicy notes of melting slushie syrup. Hmmm-mmm.
It's not movie date night without popcorn. This is a fact we will not be debating. The only issue is having to choose between sweet or savoury, right? WRONG. This killer "Movie Night In" gift box from the Joe & Seph's crew has all sides of your tongue covered. From Salted Caramel to Toffee Apple & Cinnamon, and Peanut Butter to Mature Irish Cheddar - their gourmet popcorn will def make your movie night POP.
If you decide to get hot and heavy in the metaphorical back row before the opening credits even roll, you might wanna cool off with an epic ice-cream delivery. Gelupo offers delivery and collection to all London postcodes, and they're working on getting it further afield. BOOM. Pick from an all-star line up of ice-creams including Fresh Mint Stracciatella, Ricotta Sour Cherry and our personal fave: their creamy, nutty pistachio. No, you can't have a lick.
So you've got to the end of your date night. If all this were happening in a non-Covid world you'd probably be trying to work out whether you're gonna seal the deal right about now. No need to pull the "would you like to come in for a coffee" trick cos they're already (always) there... but it'd be a shame to miss out on a killer nightcap to round off the night. And hey, if you pump yourself up with caffeine you might find yourselves with the energy to stay up a few more hours...
Wanna get lucky? Channel the Irish. Heat things up with this classic after-dinner pick-me-up by heating up a decent cuppa joe, and pimping it with your finest Irish Whiskey, sugar syrup and topping it with a thick, sweet layer of cream. Wanna know how to make them like a pro? We've got you covered with our ULTIMATE guide to the making Irish Whiskey.
Time to end the night strong. This coffee spiked Old Fashioned will give you the boost you need to stay up a few more hours talking or... not talking. It's made with the new Mr Black Origin series, so if your better half is a coffee snob, they'll f*cking love this.