Love Potions

You don't have to be Tom Cruise to create these cocktails, but a Hawaiian shirt and cheesy smile never hurts

Feature by Nimrod Baker | 15 Feb 2006

Aphrodisiacs were first used by ancient societies as remedies for various sexual anxieties such as fears of inadequate performance and to increase fertility. Procreation was an important moral and religious issue (as it most certainly still is today) and aphrodisiacs were sought to increase both male and female potency.

The European monks were famous for inventing and perfecting elixirs with purported aphrodisiac properties, and these include Benedictine and Chartreuse. Less popular on Valentine's Day is another tonic made by monks know as Buckfast, which is famed only for its violence-inducing qualities. Absinthe also used to be a popular aphrodisiac in the 19th century, usually served over a cube of sugar resting on a slotted spoon. Today it's more popular with students who wish to lose all inhibitions and the use of most senses – so it is still a useful aphrodisiac.

From Mexico comes a liqueur, Damiana, which is made from the aphrodisiac plant Turnera Diffusa and comes in a bottle shaped like a pregnant woman – modeled after the Incan Goddess of Fertility. These days, drinking from a bottle of that shape is probably more of a turn-off than a turn-on.

Other alcoholic beverages said to have aphrodisiac qualities include champagne, ginger wine, cinnamon schnapps and spiced wine. Lager, cider, vodka and bourbon are not similarly famed for their passion-inducing qualities, they are however are very likely the cause of more accidental pregnancies.

Anyway, this Valentine's Day forget about giving your partner clichéd gifts such as chocolates, roses or a cuddly teddy, instead spice things up with some homemade cocktails based on spirits with aphrodisiacal qualities. You don't have to be Tom Cruise to create these, but a Hawaiian shirt and a cheesy smile never hurts. With the suggested garnish they will also be aesthetically pleasing – the extra touch that just might be the difference between a cold bed and a warm one.

Hopeless Romantic
Cut one strawberry into small pieces and then muddle (crush) into the bottom of a champagne flute, slowly top with either Champagne or Cava, garnish with a few rose petals.

Heart Warmer
35ml Calvados (or apple brandy), 35ml Cinnamon Schnapps, build over ice, then garnish with apple slice and cinnamon dust.

35ml Vodka, 15ml Chambord (or raspberry liqueur), 15ml fresh lime juice, build over ice garnish with either a strawberry slither or fresh raspberries.

After Dinner Mint (Shooter)
1/3 Kahlua, 1/3 Bailey's Irish cream, 1/3 Creme de Menthe, layer in a shot glass, can be garnished with a mint leaf.

After a few of these love potions you will be guaranteed to be spending the night with the one that you love, and if they're busy just order these drinks for someone cute at the bar. Just remember everything in moderation, except for on Valentine's Day...