Valentine’s Day is a holiday full of romance, chocolates and champagne! This year, we want to give you a little boost in the bedroom with cocktails created especially with love in mind.
For centuries, certain foods and ingredients have been rumored to have aphrodisiac properties. From heady vanilla to spicy ginger, red hot chilies to decadent chocolate, we’ve picked from the best to spice up your cocktail making, and your love life this holiday season!
In Mexico, where the vanilla bean is believed to have originated, vanilla as an aphrodisiac is said to have come from an old folk lore about the young goddess Xanat, who loved a Totonac boy. Unable to marry a human because of her divine nature, she transformed herself into the vanilla orchid, so that she could forever belong to him and his people.
The Mayan, Aztecs, and Spaniards knew the value of vanilla, and that chocolate and vanilla made for an erotic pair. In the 1700’s, vanilla was recommended by physicians as an aid for male potency. Today, modern science has shown that the smell of vanilla is one of the most powerful scents for attraction. Whether you eat it, wear it, or drink it, vanilla is a potent ingredient in the game of love!
Vanilla Flower Martini
- 1 oz Azzurre Vodka
- .5 oz vanilla syrup*
- .25 oz fresh lime juice
- Garnish: Lime twist
Add vodka, vanilla syrup, and lime juice to a shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled, strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
*To make vanilla syrup, bring to a boil equal parts water and granulated sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes, add vanilla bean, turn off heat. Allow to cool, and pour into an airtight bottle.
Nothing is more romantic than chocolate! We all know that sensual taste and aroma, but dark chocolate has also been shown to cause a spike in dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that induces feelings of pleasure. Try this sweet and spicy chocolate martini to rev up your romance factor this season.
- .75 oz Azzurre Vodka
- .5 oz white chocolate liqueur
- .5 oz white créme de cacao liqueur
- .25 oz cinnamon schnapps
- Garnish: chocolate syrup
- Rim: cinnamon and cocoa powder
Rim a martini glass with cinnamon and cocoa, drizzle chocolate syrup inside glass. Set aside to chill. Shake the rest of the ingredients with ice, pour into glass.
EXOTIC GINGER AND CHILI PEPPER
In the Sanskrit, spices like cardamom, ginger, and chili peppers have long held an exotic reputation as aphrodisiacs, and symbols of love. Fragrant and inviting, they warm the body, and create a tingle on the palate. What better way to stir up a little romance for the evening?
- 2 oz Azzurre Vodka
- 1 slice of fresh ginger
- 1 cardamom pod, crushed
- 1 oz lime juice
- .5 oz agave
- 3 slices red jalapenos
- 3 sprigs of mint
- 3 slices of cucumber
- Garnish: cucumber and mint sprig
Add cucumber, cardamom, ginger, jalapeno, and mint to a shaker and muddle well. Add Azzurre Vodka, lime juice, and agave syrup. Add ice, shake. Pour into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish and serve.
A perfect heart, the strawberry is an edible symbol of love. French countryside tradition stated that newlyweds were to be served cold strawberry soup, in order to encourage honeymoon romance. Pair this strawberry cocktail with a chocolate soufflé, and watch the sparks fly!
- 5 oz Azzurre Vodka
- .5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- .25 oz simple syrup
- .75 oz Strawberry Puree (recipe below)
- 2 oz. sparkling wine
- 1 half strawberry, for garnish
Pour all ingredients except sparkling wine into a shaker. Add ice, shake vigorously. Pour sparkling wine in to a chilled coupe or martini glass, and pour the cocktail over it. Stir once. Garnish with half a strawberry.
- 5 lbs fresh strawberries (look for glossy and deep red)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Place all ingredients into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until all the strawberries break down. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a blender to mix, blend for 1 minute, then pour into a squeeze bottle. Will keep for one week.
HONEY-THE LIQUID OF THE GODS
Honey as an aphrodisiac can be traced back to many cultures and traditions, where lovers have shared it as a sensual food. In ancient Greece, the physician Hippocrates prescribed honey for sexual vigor, advocating the use of milk and honey to induce love and ecstasy. Combining these ingredients in a warmly sweet and spicy cocktail makes for the perfect end to a romantic evening.
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 2 tbs honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pinch of saffron (7-10 threads)
- Dash of salt, to taste
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp organic rooibos chai tea
- 5 oz Azzurre Gin
- Garnish: cinnamon powder
Bring almond milk just to a simmer in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then whisk in honey, cinnamon, saffron, and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes to infuse.
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add tea. Boil 1 minute. Pour tea through a fine-mesh sieve into the hot milk mixture, discarding leaves. Simmer over very low heat 1 minute.
Pour gin into two mugs, top with hot chai. Dust with cinnamon, serve.
ROYAL BASIL-THE SYMBOL OF LOVE
A fragrant, earthy plant that most of us associate with Italian food, basil was once considered to be one of the most sacred and noble plants. Believed to have originated in Asia, the use of this herb dates back to Ancient Greece. Greeks regarded it as their royal herb, and in Roman times, basil was a symbol of love. In Moldavia, basil was regarded as a symbol of love, and any man that accepted a sprig of the herb from a woman would become smitten with her.
- 5 oz Azzurre Gin
- 3 basil leaves
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz honey syrup*
- 2 oz club soda
In a shaker, muddle basil, lemon juice, and honey syrup. Add ice, pour in gin, shake. Strain into a martini glass, top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
*To make honey syrup; combine equal parts honey to hot water, stir until honey is dissolved; let cool.