Some guy named Bryan Wilson once told me about what he called “the hedonisctic scale of tastes.” It is a system used to measure the physical and or emotional pleasure that certain foods and beverages deliver to those consuming them.
I think it is safe to say that most of us have experienced this in the form of a wine that inexplicably gives you butterflies in your stomach, sweet tasting things that send shivers down your spine, or perfect, duck fat fried pomme frites that you have erotic dreams about for years to come. But I digress.
So I got to thinking about this hedonistic scale, which sent me down a delightfully long path of not only wines that make me happy, but other cocktails, foods and ingredients that I love because of the pleasure that they bring. Now I must preface this adventure by telling you to trust your own palate and experiment to see what works for you. We all have different palates and reactions to flavors, and when it comes down to it, what tastes good to you is all that matters. These are the things that make me feel sometimes happy, sometimes tingly and let’s own up to it: Sometimes a little bit naughty.
These are my aphrodisiacs. The word itself, named for the Greek goddess of all things sexy, Aphrodite, dances off the tongue and makes you go, ooh la la. Aphrodisiacs are meant to increase sexual arousal and pleasure, and praise be to Aphrodite, their list is long.
For me, the story begins with a bottle of wine. Giorgio Rivetti has always been one of my favorite Italian winemakers, not to mention that he’s easy on the eyes. Many moons ago I had the tongue-tickling pleasure of drinking a bottle of his 1998 LaSpinetta Barbaresco. Let me just say that the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I had to take a seat lest I swoon, fall down and chip my beautiful teeth. It nearly took my breath away, and I will never forget that bottle. It will go down in history as one of the great pleasures of my life.
Another drink that gets me all relaxed and happy is white Port, which is thought to possess vastly more powerful aphrodisiac quality than can be explained by its alcohol content alone. The effect is said to be enhanced by the accompaniment of wild strawberries, and I can attest this to be true. Mind you that this is just white Port and not red which has an effect no more than that of normal alcohol. Another way to enjoy and enhance wine with ‘make me horny’ attributes is with the addition of certain ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and honey, all thought to have aphrodisiac powers. This mixture can be served warm or cold depending on season and preference.
Some ingredients that you can create your own sexy cocktails with include cacao, which enhances feelings of happiness, love and passion due to its content of happy-making neurotransmitter phenylethylamine, and the ability to trigger the body’s own production of a more famous one: Serotonin.
Amaretto is thought to make us girls particularly tingly. One of my favorite fruits of all time – and one that is almost in season now – is cherries. Cherries are thought to stimulate pheromone production and attract people to us. And just think what kind of fun you could have with a bowl of those pretty, plump, sweet little babies, and someone who’s fun to play with – naughty, naughty.
Coconut milk is also said to enhance libido, along with strawberries, figs, almonds, chili, cardamom, licorice, chocolate, oysters, tomatoes – once called a “love apple” – and alcohol, because it helps us to relax and ease our inhibitions as proved in that one country song entitled “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” And, of course, bananas, but that’s just because of their shape, grrrr.
Some of my favorite sexy cocktails are as follows: Avocado boba milk tea, a blend of fresh avocado, condensed milk and tapioca pearls. Oyster shooters, your choice of bivalves served with Belvedere mignonette. Senor Barriga, a potent cocktail of Corralejo Blanco and muddled lime, sugar, thyme and jalapeno. Mango sharbat, a non-alcoholic smoothie of mango, lime and green cardamom pods, best mixed with BYOB vodka or rum. Guido, a shot of Sambuca plus a splash of coffee liqueur, is another aphrodisiac. Aztec drinking chocolate, spiced with clove and cinnamon.
There are lots of delicious ways of bringing sexy back. Now it’s is up to you to go forth, make them your own, and see if getting your swerve on can’t be a whole lot more fun. Now go forth and misbehave! ]
Ashley Trego is a Western Slope-based chef and food and wine writer. She works with the Black Bridge Winery, 5680 Vineyards, Alfred Eames Cellars, Lilliputian Winery and Garfield Estates Winery. Ashley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org