ArtEffects 5/12/19

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LOVE LIBATIONS
Aphrodisiac-inspired cocktails to arouse the fire within.

WRITTEN BY TAMSIN EDWARDS
PHOTOS BY JEN SCHMIDT

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The history of aphrodisiacs spans thousands of years, all across the globe. References can be found scattered throughout history as far back as the Ebers Papyrus in Egypt, the Roman Empire, and in Ancient Greece. Legend tells of the Aztec Emperor Montezuma, who was said to consume great quantities of chocolate before visiting his harem of women. Casanova, the famous 18th century lover, used to breakfast on oysters, crediting them for his legendary sex drive, while more recent research conducted by scientists with the American Chemical Society proves that oysters are rich in a rare amino acid that triggers increased levels of sex hormones.

Many substances — some edible, some potable — are alleged to increase libido. Mythology, superstition, and modern-day science all play a role in our understanding and belief in the power of such ingredients, some of which need not even be consumed! The Law of Similarity proposes that like causes like. In other words, if it looks suggestive or symbolic, it may produce increased desire in the individual viewing it.

Spice it up

Science and logic play an important role amid the folklore. Some research suggests that the following ingredients can increase desire. So as Valentine’s Day approaches, it might be worth adding a few dashes of these to your evening cocktails to spice up your romantic evening.

  • Cinnamon, ginger, chile peppers, and cardamom all are both warming and stimulating when consumed or applied topically.
  • Alcohol relaxes our inhibitions.
  • Saffron, a spice that dates back to Cleopatra, was proven, in a scientific review of natural aphrodisiacs by researchers in Canada, to increase sexual desire. It has been shown to help increase sperm motility in infertile men.
  • Honey, which contains the mineral boron, was prescribed by Hippocrates for sexual vigor. It assists in regulating hormone levels and nitric oxide, which helps open up blood vessels during arousal.
  • Rose water, along with chocolate, contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that is produced by the brains of people in love. It also stimulates the nervous system, increasing energy.

“I have a theory about why some cultures are more sexually liberated,” says Leonardo Loques, bar manager of Community Speakeasy inside Social House Craft Sandwiches in South Lake Tahoe. “In hot climates, such as my own in Brazil, people wear less clothes.”

Though not true of everyone, most people find bare skin somewhat alluring, while the concept of warmth is associated with intimacy. Replicating this heat in the body through ingredients, Loques suggests, could have a similar effect.

“If something is going to rouse you, it’ll be our Community Penicillin,” Loques says.

Tamsin Edwards is a Tahoe transplant, originally from Wales, who is passionate about the potential and power of food to heal, nourish, and perhaps liberate you from your inhibitions.

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Community Penicillin

(courtesy of Leonardo Loques, bar manager, Community Speakeasy at Social House Craft Sandwiches in South Lake Tahoe. Serves 1)

3 quarter-sized pieces ginger root

¾ ounce cardamom syrup (see instructions below)

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice (or ¾ ounce lemon juice with ¼ ounce Meyer lemon juice)

1½ ounces blended Scotch whisky

¼ ounce float of any Islay Scotch whisky, such as Laphroaig

Muddle ginger in cocktail shaker. Add syrup, lemon juice, and blended Scotch. Shake. Strain into glass over fresh ice. Float whisky on top.

For cardamom syrup

1 cup water

⅛ cup whole cardamom pods

½ cup sugar

½ cup honey

Pinch of saffron

Bring water, saffron, and cardamom to boil. Stir in sugar and honey until fully dissolved. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Infuse in refrigerator for up to 3 days, then strain. Bottle and refrigerate syrup. It should keep for a few weeks.

Berry, Rose, & Sage Spritzer (nonalcoholic)

(courtesy of Leonardo Loques, bar manager, Community Speakeasy at Social House Craft Sandwiches in South Lake Tahoe. Serves 1)

1 blackberry

1 sage leaf

½ ounce rose-infused simple syrup

¼ ounce blackberry and sage shrub

¼ ounce lemon juice

¼ ounce lime juice

Equal parts tonic and soda water, to taste (can omit and use Champagne)

Muddle blackberry and sage leaf together with simple syrup and shrub. Add citrus juices and shake. Double strain into glass over fresh ice. Add tonic and soda to taste.

For rose-infused simple syrup

2 cups demerara sugar

½ cup water

½ cup rose water

Bring water to boil in a small saucepan. Dissolve sugar in boiling water, stirring constantly. Stir in rose water, reduce heat, and cover pan. Allow syrup to simmer 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool while covered. Pour into glass bottle with a good seal. Store in refrigerator for two to three weeks and use as needed.

For blackberry and sage shrub

1 part blackberries

1 part white sugar

½ part sage sprigs

½ part distilled white vinegar

Lightly blend blackberries (3 seconds). Add all ingredients to airtight glass container, give it a hard shake, and let sit for a week in the refrigerator. When ready to use, remove sage only, leaving mix as is. It can keep for up to 12 months.

Community Speakeasy, inside Social House Craft Sandwiches
1001 Heavenly Village Way, Ste. 3, South Lake Tahoe • 530-539-4746• Socialhousetahoe.com

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