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600 F Street, Downtown San Diego

When it comes to holidays, few lead to such controversy as Valentine’s Day.

He thinks the day is only for her — she thinks it’s for both of them. Discussion ensues, shifts into a debate, evolves into an argument, feelings are hurt, dates canceled, relationships destroyed.

This year, though, Katsuya bartender Marisa Bruyneel will attempt to diffuse the controversy with an offering for both sides.

“Not to be too gender-specific, but with the Pucker Up, I will be trying to get men out of the box they’re in when it comes to Valentine’s Day,” she tells me. “While the day is seen as a holiday for women, it really is a shared holiday.”

Marisa Bruyneel

On the surface, the Pucker Up seems like yet another “pink drink” — although Bruyneel describes it more accurately as “dark pink to reddish.” But, she hastens to add, it’s got something for everyone. And, as its name promises, Bruyneel assures me that the drink does afford some practice time with the lips, as the ingredients set the pucker-factor on “high” with an appealing balance between fresh flavor and alcoholic power.

“The first thing you’ll taste will be the fresh lemon juice in the drink, so you get that pucker,” she says, “which will be followed by the subtle taste of the raspberry and the peach mixed together. There’s also the vodka coming in at this point, too. It’s well balanced, so you’re going to be left with a fresh, refreshing taste of fruit and pucker.”

Kitchen Proof: Perfectly prepared panoply of peppy and pleasing, poetic and precocious, provocative and persuasive.


In a cocktail tin, muddle four raspberries and add:

  • 1½ oz. Absolut vodka
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. Cointreau
  • ½ oz. Peach Pucker
  • ½ oz. simple syrup

Add ice, shake cocktail tin, strain into a martini glass, garnish with a blood orange wheel.

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