Aphrodisiac cocktails: Do they work?

Posted at 12:59 PM, Feb 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-13 22:12:18-05

Legendary 18th century womanizer Giacomo Casanova didn’t reportedly eat 50 oysters each day just because he liked their slimy texture. For hundreds of years, people have experimented with various foods, hoping to overload their sex drives.

This Valentine’s Day, many people are hoping the night will end one way and the teachers at New York City’s American Bartenders School dug up some cocktail recipes that include ingredients believed to be aphrodisiacs.

The experts at the American Bartenders School caution that alcohol is a depressant, meaning it decreases blood flow and can hamper sexual performance — but if you want to try a tasty drink that might also ignite some lust, give these a shot.

4 shucked oysters
4 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
¼ cup vodka, or as needed
Place each oyster into a shot glass. Add one teaspoon of hot sauce to each glass, then add horseradish to taste. Fill glasses to the top with vodka, drink immediately.

Oysters are just one natural substance believed to be an aphrodisiac and might very well be the world’s most legitimate libido-raising supplement. A 2005 study found that the food contained “rare amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones,” according to London’s The Telegraph. A group of American and Italian scientists performed the research and found that the rare hormones in oysters can raise your sex drive.

2 ounces citrus vodka
½ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce pomegranate juice
1 ounce simple syrup
Combine all ingredients with ice in shaker, shake well and strain into chilled martini glass. Add a dash of rose water, if available. Garnish with flamed orange peel.

Scientific studies on the aphrodisiacal effects of pomegranate are conflicted but there’s virtually no disagreement that it’s a tasty cocktail ingredient. The folks from the American Bartenders School likened the fruit to “nature’s Viagra,” pointing to an American clinical study that found pomegranates can help cure some erectile dysfunction issues.

1 ounce amaretto
1 ounce white creme de cacao
1 ounce Irish cream liqeur
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into two shot glasses.

For centuries, chocolate has been believed to be an aphrodisiac but conclusive evidence supporting that idea hasn’t been found. According to WebMD, chocolate contains a nervous system stimulant that could help “arouse emotions,” but not enough to really make a difference. But for Valentine’s Day, a chocolate cocktail will probably beat a box of conversation hearts.

Cherries are another food long believed to be an aphrodisiac. (Getty Images)

½ ounce Kahlua
½ ounce amaretto
½ ounce white creme de cacao
Dash grenadine syrup
Shake ingredients over ice and serve.

This decadent drink combines chocolate and cherries — both believed to be aphrodisiacs. As mentioned above, chocolate has largely been debunked, and according to a 1997 study, cherries are also a bust. Scientists at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that the scent of cherry decreased arousal in women they tested. Still, this sounds like a perfect Valentine’s Day libation.

Click over to the American Bartenders School website for six more drinks that contain possible aphrodisiacs, including coffee, honey and chili peppers.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.