Creating a romantic mood? You can use candles, soft music and aphrodisiacs like chocolate, oysters and...gin? Yes, gin is full of stimulating botanicals.
Other than the ever present juniper, gin can be made with a wide variety botanicals and many of the most popular gin flavours are also known for their ability to stimulate more than your tastebuds. These are the gin botanicals that have long been considered aphrodisiacs and the best gins to showcase their amorous effects.
Cinnamon was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for a god. It’s is one of a few spices known for its 'heating' effects, which means its dry spicy flavour starts to heat up the body, and in turn, your sex drive.
Cinnamon makes an appearance in plenty of gins where it adds a nutty spiciness and a warming aftertaste. Dorothy Parker and Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Bathtub Gin are both prominently cinnamon spiced but if it’s amour you seek then King of Soho and Ish are your destinations.
Inspired by infamous nightclub manager and, let’s face it, smut peddler Paul Raymond aka the ‘King of Soho.’ This is a classic London Dry that's sweet at first, with just a hint of grapefruit which reluctantly gives in to a warm, generous cinnamon finish. The bottle features the velvet-clad ‘spirit of Soho,’ sporting a fox tale to indicate his reputation as a smart, naughty and mischievous creature of the night.
Ish is also a London Dry Gin with all the best parts of the classic style and a light almond, almost cherry like touch. But it’s their website, fet-ish, which will really spark something. Follow the suggestion to start your fetish session and you'll find different cocktails to suit common fetishes like Amaurophilia: sexual arousal from being blindfolded.
Cardamom was described as an aphrodisiac in the Arabian Nights, where the green, seed-filled pod was crushed and added to milk to set the mood. Interestingly there's some actual science to this idea. Cardamom can increase blood flow which might help in increasing desire.
Cardamom is one of the most common gin botanicals because the taste is frankly unique. Intensely aromatic, and slightly pungent. it has some resinous qualities which enhance the subtleties in juniper. Sacred, Pickering’s and Pink Pepper all have a noticeable cardamom flavour but it really stands out in Poetic License Nothern Dry and No. 3 Gin.
Poetic License Northern Dry was one of our best gins of 2015 and cardamom is a key part of its flavour profile. Northern Dry has a big juniper punch in the first taste that could be harsh and unpleasant but it is just mollified by cardamom enough to be divine. No.3 Gin features only 3 spices; angelica root, coriander seeds and cardamom, so the unique flavour of this exotic spice really stands out.
Speaking of coriander seeds, they’re another botanical that are incredibly popular with gin makers due to their spicy zestiness, which work to amplify the other citrus flavours in a gin.
Coriander’s aphrodisiac abilities have been recorded throughout history. It also shows up in Arabian Nights, as well as in ancient Chinese love potion recipes. Most importantly, it’s an ingredient in “Hipocras” a spice and herb wine drink that was traditionally drunk at weddings in Middle Ages France, Spain and Italy. It was eventually exported to South America where at one point it was banned for inflaming the libido too much.
Pick a gin and the odds are it has some coriander seeds in it; Edinburgh Gin, VII Hills, Ish, Bathtub, it’s a popular botanical. Death’s Door really showcases this spice though as it has only 3 botanicals: juniper, fennel and coriander. All 3 botanicals are clear and distinct on the palate but work together to create an appealing gin that’s elegant simplicity.
If you’re talking about aphrodisiacs you have to mention chocolate. The most sexy, sensual, passionate and pleasurable food that has ever existed.
Ancient Mayans knew chocolate was sexy, the Europeans that brought hot chocolate back from the new world knew it was sexy and you undoubtedly know it is sexy. And science proves it. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which stimulates the same hormone your body releases during sex. It can also stimulate the release of natural opiates, chemicals associated with pleasure and enjoyment.
To our knowledge, no gin is actually made with cocoa beans as a botanical. So if you’re looking to make your own gin then this might be a good idea to try. There are some chocolate flavoured gins though. Ely Dark Chocolate Gin, pulls off the trick of balancing the strong peppery quality of juniper with all the rich velvety loveliness of chocolate. Braeckman Chocolate Jenever has an easier job, with a malty jenever base that superbly supports the rich, almost nutty quality of its chocolate.
Sweet and sticky, honey has obvious resemblances that can be a turn on. It’s also been shown to boost the production of testosterone, an important chemical for both male and female desire. No gin is flavoured with honey (it would be too powerful a component) but Zymurgorium Manchester Gin is made from honey, fermented to produce the base spirit.
Another “warming” spice, Nutmeg’s aphrodisiac reputation comes from Hindu cultures, where it was believed nutmeg’s warming properties stimulated sexual appetites while its ability to sweeten breath increased attraction.
Nutmeg is a sweet, rich and earthy spice that tends to dominate but, if used sparingly, can elevate other earthier flavours. It finds its way into a few gins with an obviously spicy flavour profile such as Sacred and Ish. Surprisingly it’s also in Portobello Road where it accounts for the sweetness that distinguishes Portobello Road from most other London Dry gins and is most detectable in the long spicy finish.
Not a spice, instead a root, but also considered an aphrodisiac for its warming properties. In fact it has been proven to increase circulation and body temperature. Legend says famous French courtesan Madame du Barry gave ginger to her lovers to increase their desire and improve their pleasure.
Ginger heats up the place in 3 gins in particular. Brennen & Brown is made with just a ‘hint’ of ginger but that hint ties the whole gin together, adding a gentle heat that lingers on the palate. Eccentric Gins Limbeck is a New Western style gin that is led by the refreshing, stimulating and exotic combination of ginger and citrus. if you haven’t tried Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur then do yourself a favour and pick up a bottle right now. This astonishing gin liqueur has the perfect balance of peppery juniper, sweet yet tart rhubarb and spicy ginger. The combination of flavour elements in this is simply perfect and you must try it at least once.
Anise is both a specific spice (also known as aniseed) and a description of a flavour. The unique, cool but spicy flavour of licorice, fennel or star anise. It is the flavour, rather than the specific plants, that is supposed to provide the potency, specifically for the ladies. Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations believed anise to be the best thing to boost female arousal.
Anise is a component in many gins ranging from those where it plays a minor role, (Pickering’s or Sloane’s) to gins where it almost completely obliterates the juniper and becomes the dominant flavour note. IMagic is a good example of a gin that has a very strong aniseed flavour accompanied by gentle herbal, faintly medicinal notes.
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