A Glass of Aphrodisiac
When my husband and I owned and operated a small, reservation-only bar called Casa Coctel in Mexico, we decided to throw a Valentine’s multi-course dinner featuring aphrodisiacs in food and drink. We quickly learned that about anything and everything has been used as a love potion—garlic, chile pepper, chocolate, pomegranate, ginseng, banana, oysters, honey, mint, mustard, ginger, watermelon, peach, saffron, shrimp, and on and on. It became the joke for the dinner, that if you believe something’ll get you goin’, more than likely it has the power to do just that. Here are three of our favorite love potions for Valentine’s Day.
The famous liqueur from Italy with the face of a “strega” or witch on it is said to bind you to you lover for eternity if sipped together. Combining at least 70 herbs including mint, cinnamon, and saffron, this golden yellow digestif is often served with nuts. If you are just appalled by the thought of drinking anything out of a martini glass laced with chocolate syrup and garnished with a strawberry, try this bruiser from the Sazerac family, created by Jim Meehan.
- 2 oz/60ml Rittenhouse Rye (or other high proof rye, such as Redemption)
- .25 oz/7.4 ml oz Strega
- .25 oz/7.4 ml Palo Cortado Sherry
- 1 Sugar cube
- 1 dash Fee’s Orange Bitters
- 1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters
Fill a rocks glass with ice to chill and set aside. Add sugar cube to a mixing glass with bitters. Muddle the sugar cube to a paste in the mixing glass. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir for 20 or 30 seconds to chill and dissolve as much of the sugar as possible. There will be some left over which is good. Dump the ice out of the glass that you've been chilling and strain the drink into the chilled rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the surface drink, rub it around the rim and then discard the peel
My husband Demián wowed me when we first met with his aphrodisiac-laced Margaritas. Damiana is an herb that grows wild in the desert of Mexico that is said to have been used by indigenous people to incite desire, of which the Spanish quickly took note. Guaycura Licor de Damiana and Agavero are two brands of damiana liqueur you may find in the US. This little plant is such a part of our romance that we named our daughter Damiana.
Demián’s Damiana Margarita
- .75 oz/22 ml Damiana Liqueur
- 1.5 oz/15 ml 100% Agave Tequila Blanco, such as Calle 23, 2014 NY International Spirits Competition silver medal winner
- Juice of 2 key limes, freshly squeezed
- .25 oz or 1 barspoon Sugar, optional for sweeter tongues
- Salt and lime, for rim
- Lime wheel, for garnish
Rub the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and dip the glass into salt. We like to salt half the rim if a guest has not specified so you can drink from either side.
Place the liqueur, tequila, fresh lime juice and optional sugar in your cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for a slow ten count. Strain over ice. Garnish with lime wheel.
Different brands use slightly different ingredients in flavoring this lovely purple liqueur that originated in Holland. You may find a floral note of rose or violet to this orange liqueur, but you may also find vanilla, almond, and even coriander in its flavor profile. It is said that gentlemen might woo and win Victorian ladies drinking perhaps too much Parfait Amour from dainty cordial glasses.
If you wanna woo and win, perhaps don a Trilby hat and mix up one of these whisky variations.
- .75 oz/22ml oz Scotch, such as anCnoc 12 Yr, silver medal 2014 NYISC
- .75 oz/22 ml Parfait Amour
- .75 oz/22ml oz Sweet Vermouth
- .25 oz/7.4ml Absinthe (Meadow of Love by Delaware Phoenix has a touch of lavender that pairs so well with the botanicals in Parfait Amour)
- 2 dashes Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass
As the Porter in Macbeth wisely stated, alcohol “provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance” so remember to imbibe in moderation for Valentine’s Day! Cheers!