Museum of Sex
| March 22, 2013

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.

READ: The Main Reason Women Don't Want to Have Sex

"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.

One New York bar is banking on just that. The OralFix Aphrodisiac Cafe, part of the Museum of Sex in New York City, serves up an array of what they claim to be fueled by aphrodisiacs.

"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.”

READ: Healthy Foods to Soothe a Hangover

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: 

Museum of Sex
Damask Rose


  • 1 1/2 oz. rose-infused London Dry Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Campari
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin Rouge
  • drop of rose oil
  • crystalized rose petal


Stir in shaker and strain in coupe glass.  Garnish with crystalized rose petal and drop of rose oil.

Museum of Sex
Caligula's Dream


  • 2 oz. thyme-infused pisco
  • 3/4 oz. sarsaparilla syrup
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. egg white
  • 3 dashes chocolate bitters
  • 1 thyme sprig


Combine ingredients in shaker.  Add ice and shake vigorously, emulsifying the egg white.  Strain in coup glass and garnish with fresh thyme sprig.

Museum of Sex
One Thousand & One Nights


  • 2 oz. cardamom and saffron-infused mezcal
  • 3/4 oz. cynar
  • 3/4 oz. Royal Combier
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • green cardamom seed pods


Mix all ingredients in shaker with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain in rocks glass over ice.  Garnish with green cardamom seed pods.

Museum of Sex
The Jazz Queen


  • rye whisky
  • licorice syrup
  • Peychaud's Bitters
  • Angostura Bitters
  • absinthe
  • 1 lemon chip


First, rinse or spray a rocks glass with absinthe. Add ice to glass. Add rye whisky, licorice syrup and both bitters in a cocktail shaker and shake. You can modify the amount per ingredient to suit your taste. Pour drink into glass. Garnish with a lemon chip.

Museum of Sex


  • Orgeat (almond syrup)
  • blackberry liqueur
  • brut sparkling wine


First pour almond syrup in a flute, followed by blackberry liqueur and then brut sparkling wine. You can modify the amount of each ingredient to suit your taste. The result should be in layers.