I love this post! When Sarah O’Leary, the brains behind the newly launched Holistic Hot Sauce told me she wanted to share a post about cordials, I have to admit I was a bit confused. Cordials? Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a cocktail as much as the next person but what the heck does that have to do with Bliss? Ha! Me of little faith! Now after reading this marvelous tutorial of a post you can bet some blissful cordials are on my romantic menu!
Why can’t that giddy, excited feeling continue? You know, that jolt you experienced when your eyes first met, the excited passion that flooded your being during those first weeks and months. The way you could stay up all night talking, laughing, learning what makes each other tick, what excites you.
When romance blooms it all starts out with firecrackers. And sizzle. And spontaneous pulling over by the side of the road to find a private spot under the trees.
In those early stages of love, passion doesn’t need to be sought. Romance doesn’t have to be cultivated.
But then the weeks slip into months, and then years. You start noticing those annoying habits, like how he picks his teeth with the tines of his fork. Or how she always leaves her purse on your favorite chair.
It’s a relationship. And like everything that is sustained, middles are never as exciting as beginnings.
It’s possible to rediscover some of that passion and excitement though, and brewing up some romance is a step in the right direction.
Have you ever tried a lover’s cordial? These elixirs of passion will not only lend some sparkle to a flagging romance, but they’ll titillate your taste buds too.
I discovered the magic of cordials years ago at an herbal gathering. I’d been working with herbs for a long time at that point, and married almost as long. That whole fizzling discussed above was going on in full force.
So – yeah, I wanted to spice things up. But nothing too kinky, you know? I just wanted some pizzazz, something luscious to add to the loving.
Enter Diana De Luca. Herbalist and Love Goddess extraordinaire, and author of Botanica Erotica.
I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that I have Diana to thank for the longevity of my marriage.
During that spring our relationship was just slogging along – he’d get huffy at hearing “I’m really tired tonight,” yet again, and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open to read a page of my book at bedtime – much less anything else.
Then I returned home from the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium with a special glint in my eye.
I’d rediscovered not just how to spice up our sex life – but how to ‘herb’ it up as well.
With swishing skirts and colorful scarves aglow, this belly-dancing herbalist schooled us on turning average foods and herbs into accoutrements of love.
I learned that honey took on a role of aphrodisiac in ancient times – sometimes getting mixed with anise seed and smeared on various body parts.
And then there were the Diana-inspired edible body paints. Just mix your favorite fruit jam with honey. Use your fingers as a paintbrush, and …guess what’s for dessert sweetie?
But maybe you want to spice up your love life with some recipes that are a little less, well, sticky.
That glint in my eye that evening was nothing compared to the sparkle in my husband’s when we climbed the stairs and he saw fresh and fragrant rose petals strewn around our bed. A flickering candle, a bottle of massage oil and two cordial glasses stood on the nightstand.
“What happened at that herb conference?” he exclaimed.
I picked up the bottle. “Have you ever tried Damiana cordial?” I asked. “Maybe you want to sip it out of my belly button…”
So, What’s A Cordial Anyway?
Cordials are basically a liqueur, best sipped from an attractive small goblet or cordial glass. These potent libations are sipped slowly, or used as a flavoring. They’re quite tasty when mixed with sparkling water.
The idea here is that a little alcohol goes a long way in loosening up for a night of love – but a lot might just put the fire out completely.
After hanging out with Diana at her Herbal Erotica workshops, we all got a little cordial-crazy. Now, when I attend the Women’s Herbal Symposium, there’s a cordial being sold traded or tasted to suit every taste bud: chocolate, cherry, raspberry, rose, licorice – you name the flavor and someone’s got a cordial to please that palate. They’re so easy and fun to make.
And even more fun to taste. Have you ever been to a cordial-tasting party?
But Damiana cordial is the original lover’s elixir. That’s because the herb is well known for its aphrodisiac qualities. Okay, chocolate might be #1, but it’s not usually thought of as an “herb.” Both plants originate from Central America, and the Aztecs used them as a sexual tonic and stimulant.
Are you all excited to try some Damiana cordial? Well, the bad news is that a truly potent cordial must steep and then age for several months.
You might have had an earlier date in mind – like tonight.
Well, if you’re really thinking tonight, you’ll have to content yourself with some Damiana tea sweetened with honey. Use about an ounce of herbs per quart of water. Try adding smaller proportions of libido-enhancing herbs such as prickly ash or Siberian ginseng, or even a split vanilla bean to make it all yummy. And maybe mix in a little brandy for that extra cordial-like buzz.
A night of passion awaits.
There’s also the quick and easy version of Damiana cordial – make it today to prepare for your next hot date. You do plan those don’t you? Every long term relationship needs regular date nights – especially if kids take up the rest of the time.
Quickie Damiana Cordial
Take a cup of regular vanilla extract and pour into a jar. Mix in about two tablespoons of dried Damiana leaves and a tablespoon of honey. Stir it all up and let the mixture rest for at least two days. Shake it up every day or so. Strain it through a piece of cheesecloth draped over a mesh strainer. (The cheesecloth really is essential unless you want little bits of herbs floating in your cordial. You can also use muslin or even a paper towel.) Store in a glass bottle or jar. It’s definitely extra special if you can find a fancy, cute bottle.
Get out the cordial glasses and light the candles.
But don’t stop there. Buy enough Damiana to make a big batch of the ‘real’ thing. It’s a little more complicated but totally worth it. This just gets better with age so you can stash away some extra bottles for future good times. Or give some to your favorite couples for gifts.
1 ounce Damiana leaves
2 cups vodka or brandy
1 ½ cups spring water
1 cup honey
Place Damiana in a quart jar and pour vodka or brandy over it. Cover tightly and soak for five days. Strain through cheesecloth, but save the leaves.
Soak the alcohol infused Damiana leaves in the spring water for three more days. Strain once again, and this time toss the leaves (preferably in the compost!)
Warm the water extract over low heat and stir in the honey till it dissolves.
Mix the resulting water/honey with the alcohol extract and shake or stir well. If you want you could add a little vanilla extract, or even some rosewater for scent and flavor.
Pour off into clean bottles and let age for at least a month. Again, if you find a beautiful bottle to store this in it adds to the fun.
This recipe was adapted from an old folk recipe shared by Diana De Luca in Botanica Erotica. If this stuff intrigues you – or even thrills you – I recommend scoring a copy of this artful book. So much more than recipes, it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the brain. Not to mention the libido!
But wait, what about chocolate?
All you really need is a few squares of high quality dark chocolate to enhance a night of cordials and roses. Yet, you really haven’t fully lived until you’ve sipped a chocolate cordial – and it’s even easier to make than Damiana cordial. (It’s another one that could be ready by this weekend!)
Talk about gift-giving opportunities! Your friends will be stalking you for more!
Chocolate Lover’s Cordial
1 cup brandy
2 cups chocolate syrup (Lot of people use Hershey’s, but I like to find a groovy organic one)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or try a few drops of almond or orange extract)
Mix it all together in a bottle or jar and shake well. Let it sit for a couple of days up to one week. You can drink the stuff straight (from your lover’s belly button?) or pour over your favorite ice cream.
And don’t stop with these recipes. Experiment on your own. You could infuse Damiana in the brandy and then mix with chocolate for a double-dipping cordial experience. You can add roses, or raspberries, or…?
Oh, and don’t think you have to be settled into in a long-term relationship to experiment with these lover’s teas and cordials. Perhaps you’re cultivating a new romance? Get all Cleopatra-like with the cordials and your sweetie will be as smitten as Julius Ceasar.
If you’re ready to rustle up some romance, cordials can take that passion to whole new levels. Enjoy!
Sarah O’Leary of Holistic Hot Sauce
Sarah’s an herbalist, writer, entrepreneur and generally friendly person. Passionate about natural health and wellness, she’s spent years exploring the many ways to achieve it. She shares her wisdom over at the newly unveiled Holistic Hot Sauce. Hop on over for a visit to sign up for the mailing list and be the first to get hot and saucy tips & stories for looking and feeling radiant and alive at any age.
Thank you so much for this inspiring post Sarah! I can’t wait to get started on my own cordial concoctions!
I also want to congratulate you on the launch of your fabulous new site, Holistic Hot Sauce. I’m incredibly honored to be included in your inaugural post Self Care Secrets From 13 Wise And Empowered Women. What a line up of marvelous women!
All in all folks, Sarah is having nearly 50 amazing women share their self care secrets and that is not all! As part of her big launch there will be prizes and other fun so you should head right over !
(I meant now! What are you waiting for?)