With Valentine's Day just around the corner, the coquettish charge of passion and desire is palpable. You can almost feel the electricity in the air as thousands of loved-up people prepare for their double dates and romantic rendezvous across the country. If you're creating a special dinner at home or a tender nightcap for two, we've found the ultimate finale: an aphrodisiac cocktail.
This delicious love potion is sure to dial up the heat between you and your amorous other and ignite the flame of desire. To compose the ultimate cocktail menu for Valentine's Day, we joined forces with Gem & Bolt co-founders Adrina Drina and Elliott Coon and alchemist Rohini Moradi, director of The Cocktail Camp, and they did not disappoint. The trio laid the artistic license on thick, distilling the power of ancient tinctures and herbal aphrodisiac ingredients with the smoky, vibrant tones of mezcal.
The main ingredient? Damiana leaves. This special aphrodisiac was used by the native people of Mexico and the Mayans to help boost sexual potency, so it definitely adds a sensual kick to any cocktail. Ready to get shaking? Ahead, we share five exclusive Valentine's cocktails that will really set your partner's heart on fire.
Inspiration: Dreamy and in Love
When you're working with elevated (and sensual) ingredients, Drina, Coon, and Moradi truly believe the act of making a cocktail can be as stimulating as drinking the beverage itself. This dreamy combination of mezcal infused with ancient pistachio, rose water, damiana, and cardamom is said to attract love and open the heart. "This recipe has a lot of bold players intertwined," they said. "We prefer Roya Spirit syrup as the sweetener because it keeps the taste and feeling light and lucid." Let's shake to that.
1 1/2 oz. Gem & Bolt Mezcal + Damiana
8 pistachios (muddled)
1/4 oz. rose water (attracts love)
1 oz. coconut cream
1/2 oz. Meyer lemon juice
1/2 oz. Roya spirit or honey
Cardamom sprinkle (aphrodisiac)
Muddle pistachios, and then add 1 1/2 ounces Gem & Bolt, 1 ounce coconut cream, 1/2 ounce Meyer lemon, 1/2 ounce Roya Spirit, and 1/4 ounce rose water. Vigorously shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into stemless red wineglass. Garnish with cardamom sprinkle.
Inspiration: Passion and Power
There's nothing more attractive than a person brimming with self-love and confidence. Drina, Coon, and Moradi created a Valentine's cocktail that help you achieve just that and more. "The secret to harnessing our natural powers is sometimes as simple as cleansing ourselves from everything else," they said. "In this case, we created a special 'black syrup' made of Roya Spirit and activated charcoal, stirred with a sacral tincture. This has been specifically crafted to ground our intuition and stabilize our emotions so we can interact openly and honestly with our surroundings. The raspberry leaf is rich in nutrients that strengthen our body, especially in reproduction."
2 oz. Gem & Bolt Mezcal + Damiana (or your own mezcal of choice)
1 oz. black syrup (activated charcoal–cleansing)
Directions for Black Syrup
Mix activated charcoal and Roya Spirit together. Add 2 dashes of heart tincture, or about 1/4 teaspoon–to–5 ounces ratio. (Think of a tincture as an herbal extraction, like bitters.)
Add rose petal, dried apricot, dried date, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods to a liter of neutral spirit (150 proof) for one month. Garnish with raspberry leaf.
Note: Just like love, this black syrup takes time to brew, but it is optional. The cocktail still works without it, and you can use any aromatic bitters you prefer in replacement.
Directions for Cocktail
In mixing glass, add 2 ounces mezcal, 1 ounce Roya Spirit, black syrup, and 2 big dashes of heart tincture. Stir with ice and strain into a goblet.
Optional: Garnish with flamed orange and cinnamon zest.
Inspiration: Love Sedative
Valentine's Day is all about recognizing the ritual of romance and the power of love. This special cocktail, inspired by the tradition of the Persian New Year (which occurs on the vernal equinox, marking the first day of spring) is sure to ramp up the heat between you and your S.O. "There is a ritual of fire during Persian New Year that holds special significance," they said. "Each person jumps over the flame while exclaiming in Farsi what translates to 'my yellow to you, your red to me.' The saffron in this cocktail is a pitch-perfect symbol for fire, which allows the imbiber to let go of fears, inhibitions, and old hang-ups to give in to the seduction and make the leap into a new territory." Now that's something we can toast to.
1/2 oz. Gem + Bolt Mezcal + Damiana (or mezcal of your choice)
1/2 oz. Roya spirit or honey
1/2 oz. kaffir lime (the pH in this lime balances the cocktail)
Pinch of saffron (fire is the color of sacrifice)
Rose petals (attracts love)
Combine 1 1/2 ounces mezcal, 1/2 ounce kaffir lime, 1/2 ounce Roya Spirit, and a pinch of saffron. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice and garnish with rose petals.
Inspiration: Rejuvenated and Energized
While the idea of "cocktail as medicine" isn't new for many cultures across the globe, Drina, Coon, and Moradi said it's still a fairly fresh concept to many in the Western world. "Melding the elements of peppers (serrano), turmeric, spinach, and celery with mezcal can enhance the absorption of nutrients (vitamins A and C and iron, to name a few) within the body faster," they said. Drinking with health benefits? Yes, please!
1/2 oz. Gem & Bolt Mezcal + Damiana (or your own mezcal)
1 serrano pepper (seeded)
1 handful spinach
1 inch turmeric root, juiced
1/4 oz. Roya Spirit or honey
1/2 oz. celery juice
Muddle 1 serrano pepper and a handful of spinach. Stir in 1/2 ounce mezcal, 1/2 ounce celery juice, turmeric root juice, and 1/4 ounce Roya Spirit. Shake vigorously and double strain into coupe. Garnish with truffle salt and celery stick.
Inspiration: Aphrodisiac Dessert
As the romance heats up over your Valentine's Day dinner, the passionate meter is on high, and a buzzy new energy enters your body; love is in the air. Now it's time to bring out the finale. "This cocktail is meant to warm the spirit as we toast the efforts of the day and celebrate the sacredness of night," Moradi said. "Notes of chocolate and tangerine juice swirl in a dance that embodies this transition, with damiana as the candlelight."
1 1/2 oz. Gem & Bolt Mezcal + Damiana (or your mezcal of choice)
1/2 oz. damiana syrup
1/2 oz. Roya Spirit
1/2 oz. tangerine juice
Single-origin chocolate syrup
Combine 1 1/2 ounces mezcal, 1/2 ounce damiana syrup, and 1/2 ounce tangerine juice. Shake vigorously and strain into chocolate-lined coupe glass.