There may not be a lot of concrete scientific evidence that aphrodisiacs actually work. But, who really cares? These cocktails by Junoon's Hemant Pathak were created to celebrate love—and they're beautifully well-balanced. Enjoy them and see what awaits.
I’ve never been very fond of Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong: I’m no hater. But why celebrate love (and everything that comes with it) just one day out of the year? Why not revel in it as often as you’re able to—the way God intended? It couldn’t be easier.One stress-free way to start: aphrodisiac cocktails. Hemant Pathak, the bar manager at Michelin-starred Junoon in New York City, very generously shared five recipes that you can enjoy all year ’round. And they’re fantastic.Let me be clear: There’s not a lot of concrete scientific evidence that confirms the efficacy of aphrodisiacs. But…why not take what you can get, enjoy the cocktails, see what awaits, and just have some fun—on Valentine’s Day and beyond? You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.27 WEST“Whiskey is one of my favorites spirits to mix in cocktails, and with 27 West I tried to get sweetness and flavor out of liqueurs without using any other sugar substance. For this, I used saffron-infused Maraschino Liqueur which, along with the ginger liqueur, balanced the intense spiciness of rye and the smokiness of Scotch.”Ingredients:1 oz. Rittenhouse Rye.75 oz. blended scotch.5 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur.25 oz. saffron-infused maraschino liqueur2 dash grapefruit bittersMethod: Stir all ingredients well over ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass, garnished with orange twist.Aphrodisiac Ingredients: ginger and saffronCOCONUT-GINGER COLADA“The idea was to make a health-conscious aperitif without adding any additional sugar and spirits. Simple and beautiful with the harmony between the aphrodisiac ingredient ginger, coconut, and lime!”Ingredients:2 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur1½ oz. lime-infused coconut milk½ oz. limejuice¼ oz. simple syrupTwo small pieces fresh lemongrassOne green cardamomMethod: Shake all the ingredients with ice vigorously, serve in a wine glass with cube ice. Garnish with lemongrass stick and edible flower.Aphrodisiac Ingredients: ginger, coconut, limeMASALA AMERICANO“One of my all time favorite aperitif cocktails! For a long time I was working on a masala vermouth recipe for this drink. I simply replaced the regular sweet vermouth with spiced vermouth and balanced the flavor with a touch of PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur to make it more complex.”Ingredients:1 oz. Aperol¾ oz. Spiced Carpano Antica½ oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur4 oz. Cava BrutMethod: Build in a burgundy wine glass. Garnish with shiso leaf and dehydrated orange wheel.Aphrodisiac Ingredient: pomegranate, spiced vermouth, sparkling wineEAST INDIA GIN & TONIC“In more than 150 years, one drink has evolved: the gin and tonic. It was originally mixed for medicinal purposes. My inspiration was to make a homemade tonic to complement the flavor of one particular gin—Bombay Sapphire East. In time, I’m going to create different sets of tonics for different gins.”Ingredients:3 drops St. Germain3 drops Pavan Liqueur½ oz. housemade tonic2 oz. Bombay Sapphire East Gin1 barspoon limejuice4 oz. Club SodaMethod: Stir and serve in a Burgundy wine glass, garnish with paan leaf, dehydrated orange, and lime wheel.Aphrodisiac Ingredient: elderflower liqueurA DOZEN ROSES“Valentine's Day is the festival of love and affection—and who doesn't like roses? The idea was to bring the floral notes of cardamon and rose petals together with citrus and pineapple for a refreshing cocktail.”Ingredients:1 ½ oz. rose and cardamom-infused vodka1 oz. freshly-squeezed pineapple juice½ oz. freshly-squeezed lemon juice¼ oz. rose syrupMethod: Shake and serve in a coupe with rose petals and sprinkled with rosewater.Aphrodisiac Ingredient: rose everything!