Starline’s Liquid Love Song

Bar manager turns to the Isley Brothers for the inspiration behind the For the Love of You, a potion to get you and your Valentine hot.


This steamy drink will make you want to scoot closer to your Valentine.

Photo by Lori Eanes

Turn on the slow jams and get ready for romance. It’s time for Valentine’s Day. This year it’s all about keeping things soulful, so pull up two stools at the Starline Social Club, where rhythm and passion are served in abundance. Settle in at the expansive all-wood bar, put an arm around your object of affection, then order For the Love of You, an Isley Brothers–inspired creation from the mind (read: heart) of co-owner and bar manager Alex Maynard.

“My favorite Isley Brothers’ song,” he said while handing over the cocktail. “I feel like Ron Isley probably drinks cognac, so it’s cognac-based with housemade ginger syrup and pamplemousse, which is a grapefruit-rosé to keep the Valentine’s theme going.”

The first thing to note about this unusually sensuous beverage is that it is super hot. It’s steamy and will make you feel the same way. Pale gold in color, For the Love of You is a silky mixture of sweet fruit and satisfying fire. If you want to re-create the cocktail at home, Maynard advises that temperature is the key.

To ensure a sizzling result, preheat the stemware. Or just trust Maynard’s expertise, and let him prepare the beverage while you and your date decide between the grilled shishito peppers with fennel and lemon or the fried Brussels sprouts with garlic and turmeric.

Once served, toast your special someone, and let the balanced combination of flavors fill your palate. This liquid love song is about to set the stage for an evening of good times, good company, and memories to last a lifetime. Cupid’s arrow just struck your cocktail.


For the Love of You

1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/4 ounce Hatch’s Ginger Syrup

1/4 ounce Giffard Pamplemousse Rosé

1 ounce Landy Cognac

2 ounces hot water

Grated nutmeg


Pour hot water into a drinking glass to preheat (preferably tempered glass so you don’t need a coffee sleeve). Mix all ingredients except hot water into a small shaker tin. Pour out the water from the drinking glass. Add 2 ounces hot water to the tin, give it a quick stir, and pour into your drinking glass. Grate a little nutmeg on top.

Hatch’s Ginger Syrup comes from Starline partner Adam Hatch, and you will need a power juicer. A pound of ginger makes a nice batch. Chop the ginger just small enough so that is fits into a juicer, a ratio of 1 cup of ginger to 1? cups sugar. Then juice.


Starline Social Club Bar & Restaurant

2236 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland; ballroom is at 645 West Grand Ave., Oakland.

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