How to Have the Perfect, Martini-filled Valentines Day, According to Designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent

Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus

Designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent are in for an interesting Valentine's Day — but that's nothing new for the stylish pair. The couple, who married in 2014 after getting engaged at the top of Peru's Machu Picchu in 2013, have opposite takes on Cupid's biggest day. "I love me some Valentine's Day," Brent told Travel + Leisure. For Berkus, "It's just not my holiday." 

Just because the two fall on different ends of the Valentine's spectrum, however, doesn't mean there aren't special memories for the couple. "I think I can speak for both of us," said Berkus, "that our absolute favorite memory of Valentine's Day has nothing to do with either of us, but it was last year when our daughter Poppy, who's six now, was old enough to realize that she could create her own handmade Valentines for everyone else in her school." Now, according to the couple, almost everything is viewed through the perspective of their two young kids.

But that doesn't mean the designer duo doesn't set aside time for just themselves. "Nate and I are very good at anchoring everything around our relationship," said Brent. "You know, we make a date night in the house, you set the table, light the candles, sit down, just talk — you don't just sit there and zone out at Netflix." 

Celebrating a special occasion or not, according to Berkus, home date nights can be made extra special by pulling out "the good dishes and glassware" — even for takeout — and pairing them with a great cocktail. Their suggestion? A classic Tanqueray martini (recipe below) with the classic gin's "bright, bright flavor" and a simple lemon twist. "There's something really beautiful about Tanqueray London Dry," said Berkus,

Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus

For the designers and HGTV stars, a gorgeous green bottle of Tanqueray deserves an equally stunning bar cart home. "One of our overriding design philosophies is that our home should feel personal, layered, and storied," Berkus explained, which is why their bar cart is adorned with travel mementos like ceremonial cups and silver spoons found in Peru. "It's another opportunity to kind of add little objects and items that are practical, but also really beautiful."

Another sentimental item you'll find throughout their home: handwritten notes, one way the couple discreetly shares their affection. "The best gift that Nate can give me, even after being together for almost 10 years now, is a beautiful handwritten note," Brent dished, adding he keeps them visible on his bedside table and bathroom. "The biggest luxury to Nate and I is the opportunity to make something personal."

Like the rest of us, the designers have spent plenty of time at home during the pandemic daydreaming about future travels and adventures, with Portugal and warm beaches front of mind. "[We're] desperate for a long flight," they agreed, and that's not all. "I never thought I'd say this," joked Brent, "but I miss, like, a sweaty nightclub, which I never even wanted to go to before, but now I would like to have somebody's sweaty arm on me." 

While we'll have to wait to see what surprises the charming pair pull out on Valentine's Day, it's safe to say they already have the greatest gift of all: each other (and impeccable taste).

Classic Tanqueray Martini Recipe

  • 2 parts Tanqueray London Dry Gin
  • 1 part Dry Vermouth
  • Garnish: Lemon Twist

Prep: Combine ingredients in a pitcher and stir until combined. Pour cocktails into martini glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.

Tip: Make-ahead pitcher makes entertaining easier.

Tanner Saunders is the Experiences Editor at Travel + Leisure. He'd like a martini and somebody's sweaty arm on him, too. Follow along @Tizanner.

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