If you\u2019re a wine lover or craft cocktail fan, discovering your date prefers a Bud Light is more than a buzz kill\u2014it can be a deal breaker.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s why I was delighted when, on our third date, Matt suggested we visit Pegu Club, a cocktail bar on West Houston Street in New York City. There, we had drinks and said hello to Kenta, a bartender and Tokyo transplant we met at a wine and food festival during Date No. 2.\r\n\r\nAfter sinking into the leather couches, Kenta set two drinks down on the hand-carved wooden table. The candlelit \u00adsetting allowed us to focus on aromas of ginger, spice and lemon emanating from our glasses. They were love potions.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile sipping and sampling, \u00adKenta shared the inspiration behind his \u00adcreations. We joked, laughed and ordered more drinks. It seemed Kenta\u2019s cocktails had suddenly become a welcome third wheel in our courtship.\r\n\r\nAfter that night, there were many more candlelit dates and cocktail-fueled conversations in the months that followed. We\u2019d promised to visit Kenta, yet never quite got around to it. Until one summer night in August, two years later.\r\n\r\nMatt wanted to have cocktails at a \u201ccool spot\u201d on Manhattan\u2019s Lower East Side before meeting friends for dinner. What cool spot? I should know about this place.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhat\u2019s it called?\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cGoto. It came recommended,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nI was surprised Matt had heard of it before I had.\r\n\r\nThe space was chic and intimate. Sitting at a corner table, we perused the menu. It was cool. Ingredients like shiso, miso and yuzu sprinkled the page. We ordered drinks from a friendly waitress, but it wasn\u2019t she who delivered them. It was someone I recognized instantly.\r\n\r\n\u201cKenta!\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cMatthew, Marina, it\u2019s nice to see you two again,\u201d Kenta said as he placed an empty, chilled glass in front of me. \u201cI\u2019ll be right back with your drink.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cWhat are the chances Kenta is here at this spot you picked to have drinks?\u201d I said. \u201cWe haven\u2019t seen him since that night at Pegu Club!\u201d\r\n\r\nKenta returned holding a small carafe containing the cocktail and placed it on the table. Loosely tied around the neck of the carafe with a white string was a diamond ring. And to my left, Matt was on his knee asking me to marry him.\r\n\r\nAfter the shock and nerves subsided and I said yes, Matt handed me a leather-bound journal. He\u2019d documented, step-by-step, his journey leading to the proposal: finding the perfect ring, the stealth dinner with my parents to ask their permission, his plan for us to visit Kenta\u2019s new place, Bar Goto.\r\n\r\nBut perhaps most impressive of all was a collection of menus he\u2019d snatched up from all of the favorite bars we visited during our courtship. From wine at The Otheroom to cocktails at Angel\u2019s Share and (of course) Pegu Club, the journal chronicled all the drinks over which we\u2019d fallen in love.\r\n\r\nOur night\u2019s plan? To revisit those bars and celebrate the power of love potions.