Looking to add some spark during a romantic dinner for two? Dimly lit candles may set the ideal mood, but the right dishes could add some fuego to your sheets. For thousands of years, various cultures throughout the world have relied on aphrodisiacs, or certain ingredients that can instantly stir up passion and desire. And while the idea of specific foods having the powerful to stimulate arousal is based on folklore, who doesn’t mind the idea of savoring oozing chocolate dipped in juicy strawberries for some added effect? In time for the day of amor, we’ve gathered up some “love potions,” or cocktails featuring aphrodisiacs with a Latin twist. Get ready to heat things up with a drink…or two!
1. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: 1001 Nights
A glass of tequila can get anyone in the mood, but there’s more to the prized spirit of Mexico than just being all alcohol and no substance. According to myth, Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of the sacred nectar, also represented fertility. Chantal Martineau, a New York-based writer who is currently working on a book about tequila, states agave has more to offer in the aphrodisiac department. “Pulque, which is what gets distilled into tequila, has long been associated with virility and does, in fact, contain enzymes that help the body convert nutrients to energy,” she explains. “What you do with that energy is up to you.” For a taste of agave’s power, try One Thousand & One Nights from OralFix Bar at the Museum of Sex in New York City. It contains mezcal, which is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the manguey plant, a form of agave native to Mexico.
One Thousand & One Nights Cocktail Recipe
2 oz. Cardamom & Saffron Infused Mezcal
¾ oz. Cynar
¾ oz. Royal Combier
½ oz. Lime Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
Cardamom seed poods
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain in rocks glass over ice. Garnish with green cardamom seed pods.
2. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Basil
According to lore, this sweet, savory herb was offered as a token of affection in various parts of Italy and it looks like the Italians were on to something. Today, basil is used in aromatherapy to increase blood circulation, which naturally boosts one’s libido. Chef Mariko Amekodommo’s Basil Caipirinha is her homage to Brazil’s signature cocktail and of course, the country that brought us Gisele and the barely-there bikini knows all about firing things up. “If you don't have a muddler, use a wooden spoon to crush the lime and basil together, “ she says. “This process releases more aphrodisiac properties of the basil.”
Basil Caipirinha Cocktail Recipe
1 ½ oz. Cachaca
Handful of freshly torn basil leaves
2 tsp. Agave nectar
1 Lime, cut into 4 wedges
In glass, muddle together cachaca, basil, lime and sugar. Add ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with lime wedge and basil.
3. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Avocado
This creamy, luscious fruit isn’t just for making irresistible guacamole to go with your chips! Recognized as the family jewels of the Aztecs, the soaring avocado branches, or “ahuacuatl,” were called “testicle trees.” It’s no wonder they believed avocados increase fertility and boost stamina. It’s been said that while the men harvested avocados, women were kept confined inside their homes for fear that just a single whiff of this buttery crop would drive them into a passionate frenzy. Fortunately for us, everyone can now enjoy avocados with ease in various delectable dishes and drinks, including this concoction. Mixologist Junior Merino’s Aguacate y Mezcal is a velvety blend of sweet agave nectar, honey, and mezcal from Mexico that gives a powerful kick to your taste buds. If that’s not enough, it also highlights AGWA De Bolivia, known as “the world’s only coca-leaf based liqueur.” Go green, wild, and perfectly legal.
Aguacate y Mezcal Cocktail Recipe
1 oz. Dainzu Agave Nectar
1 Bar spoon of orange blossom honey
1 ½ oz. Scorpion Mezcal
¾ oz. AGWA De Bolivia
½ oz. Combier
1 ½ oz. Lime juice
1 ½ Scoops of ice
1 Lemon twist
Rim tall glass with lemongrass salt. Place all ingredients in a blender, add ice and blend. Add lemon twist for garnish.
4. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Chocolate
One of the world’s most beloved desserts has seduced royalty for thousands of years. Chocolate originally comes from the cacao tree or “theobroma,” translating to “food of the gods.” This succulent, mouthwatering treat was first cultivated in Central and South America where Aztec Emperor Montezuma would allegedly indulge in up to 50 goblets of frothy “chocolatl” to build plenty of stamina before satisfying his many lovers. Studies have indicated that chocolate releases the same feel-good chemicals in the brain associated to falling in love. Lure your admirer with a Cupid’s Kiss, a cocktail that features the world’s most popular aphrodisiac. Served by Chef Manuel Trevino at Dream Downtown‘s Marble Lane, it features plenty of chocolate to make anyone feel frisky, erm, festive.
Cupid’s Kiss Cocktail Recipe
1. 5 oz. Alchemia Wild Cherry
1.5 oz. Ciroc Coco
1.5 oz. Godiva Dark Chocolate
Vigorously shake all ingredients in an iced cocktail shaker. Strain into chocolate-rimmed cocktail glass. Add cocoa powder to rim.
5. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Cinnamon
Nothing kicks off a cuddling session quite like a steamy cup of Mexican hot chocolate, which also has a sizzling spice grown in Latin America. Cinnamon heats up the body, which awakens your sex drive. And anything that’s associated with producing warmth and moisture has been often connected with stimulating sexual desire. Some studies have even suggested men get aroused by the smell of this spice alone. Put that theory to the test and break a sweat with XOXOXO. Cinnamon, which serves as a main ingredient, enhances the flavors of the various types of chocolate in this cocktail.
1.5 oz. Hennessy XO
.5 oz. Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
.5 oz. Crème Yvette
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
3 Muddled Black Cherries
1/8 of a lemon
Freshly grated cinnamon
Muddle cherries and lemon wedge in a shaker tin. Add all liquid to shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with large ice cubes. Grate cinnamon over the top and garnish with a cherry.
6. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Coffee
The next time you’re ready to heat things up, you may want to first thank mami for introducing you to that freshly brewed café during novela hour. Coffee is more than just a welcoming morning treat. Caffeine, the stimulant in the beloved bean, enhances stamina and increases stimulation. Fortunately, your favorite brew doesn’t have to be reserved just for the early hours (unless you want to give your beau a very good morning!). Add a little alcohol to the mix and prepare to indulge in more ways than one. The Café con Leche Martini by Chef Mariko Amekodommo is rich and creamy, much like a dessert, except it features an extra jolt of spice to fire up your evening.
Café con Leche Martini Recipe
1.5 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Vanilla vodka
1 oz. Sweetened condensed milk
1 oz. Fresh brewed espresso or coffee
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Mix vigorously. Pour into a martini glass. Garnish with coffee beans.
7. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Honey
Sticky and sweet, honey is a sensual treat for anyone, but there’s another reason why we’re buzzing over Mother Nature’s dessert. Honey is also a great source of boron, a mineral that the body uses to metabolize estrogen, the female sex hormone. Studies have shown that this mineral may also enhance testosterone levels in the blood, the hormone responsible for promoting sex drive. Give the gift that keeps on giving in the form of a Los Amigos Margarita, the signature cocktail from New York City-base Amigos restaurant. Created by Chef Alex Garcia, it highlights luscious honey liqueur, along with cinnamon and tequila.
Los Amigos Margarita Cocktail
2 oz. El Mayor Plata Tequila
2 oz. Barenjager Honey Liqueur
1 oz. Orange juice
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Orange slice
Add tequila, liqueur, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Pour in a glass that has cinnamon on the rim. Garnish with one cinnamon stick and one orange slice.
8. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Pepper
No Latin dish would be complete without some much-needed heat in every spoonful and whether you prefer cayenne or Serrano, they all have one thing to offer besides the obvious: capsaicin. This warms up the body, makes blood flow, and releases endorphins in the brain, a feel-good chemical. In addition, its fiery temperature flushes the skin and swells up lips. But before you get the action going, have a sip of the self-explanatory Fiery Passion, which is made up of passion fruit, Serrano pepper, and basils.
Fiery Passion Cocktail Recipe
1.5 oz. Cuca Fresca Gold Cachaca
3 Basil leaves
1 Thin slice of Serrano pepper
¾ oz. Passion fruit puree
¾ oz. Simple syrup
½ oz. Lime juice
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a thin slice of Serrano pepper.
9. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Pomegranate
It’s been said that one bite of this deep, blood red fruit, bursting with hundreds of jeweled-hued seeds hidden behind ivory flesh, can make anyone a god, which may have inspired the Spaniards for naming their city of Granada after it. While no one has ever become immortal for eating pomegranates, we do know its passion power is due to antioxidants, which allows more blood flow, leading to genital sensitivity. Make a splash at your next bash for two with the Pomegranate Sangria, which includes plenty of succulent fruit dipped in fine spirits and pomegranate juice.
Pomegranate Sangria Cocktail Recipe
18 oz. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 Bottle of dry, fruity Spanish white wine
6 oz. Apricot brandy
6 oz. Cream sherry
1 oz. Prosecco or other sweet sparkling wine
1 Lime, sliced into wheels
1 Lemon, sliced into wheels
½ Orange, sliced into wheels
½ Grapefruit, sliced into wheels
Red apple wedges
Green apple wedges
Cava Spanish Sparkling Brut
Place all ingredients into a sangria pitcher. Refrigerate and let stand 2 hours before serving. For an individual serving, pour sangria over ice and top with fruit garnish. Finish each serving with a splash of Cava Spanish Sparkling Brut.
10. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Strawberry
This juicy berry dipped in oozing chocolate may seem like a no-brainer for a sultry night, but the fragrant fruit has long been associated with love for centuries. In various cultures, strawberries were savored to increase fertility due to their numerous tiny seeds. And even when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Chile, they were immediately captivated by this fruit. Eating one slowly in front of your lover can be sexy, but making a Love Potion, a lip smacking concoction created by the bartenders from FLAWLESS Models and Promotions in New York City, is just as fun. It’s reminiscent of boozy ice cream with plenty of strawberry syrup and whipped cream vodka. Bottoms up!
Love Potion Cocktail Recipe
1 oz. Tequila Rose Strawberry Cream Liqueur
.5 oz. Pinnacle Chocolate Whipped Cream Vodka
1 tsp. Strawberry syrup
.5 Cup ice
Scoop of vanilla ice cream
1 Strawberry slice
Add all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy. Pour in a chilled glass. Garnish with a strawberry slice.
11. Aphrodisiac Cocktails: Vanilla
Chocolate, meet your match! Before it reigned supreme as one of the most popular ice cream flavors ever created, velvety smooth vanilla was actually a must-have accessory. Plump vanilla bean pods were originally worn by the Totonacan women of Mexico to make them more desirable. In addition, the oil from the pods were reportedly used to make their sun kissed skin look even more glowing. In a late ‘90s study conducted by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, researchers concluded that vanilla is one of the most arousing scents among men. Seduce your lover with a Vanilla Margarita, a revamp on an old favorite made with a liqueur featuring hand-selected vanilla from Madagascar, which is considered to be the world’s best. Plain vanilla? Not tonight.
Vanilla Margarita Cocktail Recipe
1.5 part NAVAN natural vanilla liqueur
2.0 part Premium silver tequila
1. 0 part Fresh lime juice
1 Vanilla blossom
Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a vanilla blossom.