For thousands of years, cultures throughout the world have turned to certain ingredients to stimulate arousal.
Cocktails have been no exception.
But too much booze can also lead to poor performance in the bedroom, among other negative sexual side effects. And whether or not cocktails that claim to incorporate aphrodisiac ingredients actually have the intended effect seems to be up for debate.
“Cocktails can definitely be aphrodisiacs,” says Orson Salicetti, a mixologist at EVR, who adds that it all depends on what kind of liquor you use.
"Cognac can be more of a relaxing liquor, as opposed to tequila, which can raise your heart rate and stimulate your senses," he explains. "Also, what you mix and infuse into the liquor can amplify its aphrodisiac properties."
According to Salicetti, chocolate, figs, vanilla, ginger, ginseng, honey and anything spicy are all ingredients associated with passion and desire.
But just because a cocktail claims to be an aphrodisiac doesn't mean it actually is.
“For centuries, people have been hunting for the proverbial fountain of virility, but science wise, it’s pretty thin soup,” says Michael Dawson, Senior Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. “Still, the idea of aphrodisiacs is probably more powerful than any actual compound found in a drink or dish."
Still, Sean Cummings, a teacher for the American Sommelier Association as well as bar manager for Delmonico's Kitchen, believes certain spices can create a pleasure effect among certain drinkers. Chances are, you’ve already tried them during happy hour.
“A lot of these ingredients are being used in the mixology culture that’s been going on for a while now,” says Cummings.
"We don’t just want to serve drinks, we want to create an experience for those looking to wind down with a cocktail, but we happen to know how to titillate the tongue with flavors that enhance our ability to taste things that are bitter, sweet, sour, salty or umami, which makes your mouth water,” explains bartender Kit Stanley. “We play with the different tastes of the tongue and use fresh ingredients that, according to folklore and science, can stir arousal and other moods of pleasure.”
Fortunately, patrons at OralFix have more to choose from than just booze, as in general it is advised to drink in moderation to avoid a sexual encounter you'd rather forget.
According to the National Institute of Health, alcohol increases the risks of sexual dysfunction and can affect one's abilities in the bedroom. Not only that, but too much booze can cloud your judgment and increase the likelihood of having unprotected sex.
As sex counselor Ava Cadell warns, alcohol "may lubricate social situations and ease the task of initiating sexual proposals, but too commonly the end result is a sexually transmitted infection, or black-out with no recollection of whether or not intercourse occurred."
Whether you believe in the power of lusty libations or not, you might consider shaking things up at your next happy hour with these recommendations from the Museum of Sex: