The Morning After by Jeff Ho, Jekyll & Hyde | Photo: Kurt Ganapathy
Part science and part quackery with a healthy serving of the placebo effect, the use of aphrodisiacs to boost virility and get your mojo flowing is as old as civilisation itself. The endless quest for better sex has gone on for thousands of years across pretty much every culture, even putting some animals on the endangered species list. Luckily for you and your special someone/booty call, aphrodisiacs can be found easily these days; sometimes where you least expect them.
In an effort to help you spice things up not just on Valentine's Day but the other 364 days of the year, and to do our part to solve the country's problems with low birth rates, we got some of Singapore's best mixologists to stir up cocktails with everyday aphrodisiacs. Play nice now.
THE APHRODISIAC LIST
The choice of the Aztec emperor Montezuma II who – depending on who you believe – had anywhere between four and 100 children
The Science: Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a pschoactive compound with stimulative and therapeutic effects, tryptophan, an amino acid which the body synthesises to form the feelgood neurotransmitter serotonin, and anandamide, from the cannabinoid family of chemical compounds. Yes, we know that's a mouthful. Also used in this drink is cardamom: used in Ayurvedic medicine and is believed to get the blood flowing, if you know what we mean, thanks to the presence of eucalyptol and its purported vasodilative properties.
The Drink: Chocorgasmic by Louis Tan, L'Aiglon
The purported favourite breakfast of legendary ladies' man Giacomo Casanova
The Science: While oysters are probably the most stereotypical of aphrodisiacs, they have some of the best scientific backing of anything on this list. They contain zinc, which improves fertility, and iron, which provides energy, as well as D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate; which increases the production of testosterone in men and progesterone in women. Hot peppers on the other hand – and this would be familiar to anyone who can't live without chili – spur the release of endorphins while literally getting your pulse racing. The ghost pepper, which is used in this cocktail, was at one time considered the hottest chili pepper on the planet.
The Drink: The Slick Pearl by Louis Tan, L'Aiglon
ALMONDS AND CORIANDER
Source of many a memorable Arabian night
The Science: The aroma of almonds alone is said to be a turn on, but it might not work if you tend to associate it with beancurd desserts. They also provide you with vitamin E, an antioxidant which aids the body's production and regulation of hormones (particularly in women). Coriander's power is actually referenced in the Arabian Nights and it has been an ingredient in dubious love potions throughout history. It does have tons of vitamins A, B-6 and C, though.
The Drink: The Morning After by Jeff Ho, Jekyll & Hyde
GINSENG, GINGER AND WATERMELON
A powerful trifecta
The Science: In a number of studies, ginseng has shown potential in alleviating erectile dysfunction while generally helping muscles relax and enhancing blood flow through active compounds called ginsenosides. Watermelon contains the amino acid citrulline, which has a similar effect on the circulatory system while ginger contributes with its spiciness.
The Drink: Bittersweet Symphony by Jeff Ho, Jekyll & Hyde
AVOCADO AND PINEAPPLE
Testicle trees and flavour profiles
The Science: While some of its reputation comes from its suggestive shape – the Aztecs called it the “testicle tree” (we're sorry) – avocados also contain vitamin E. Pineapples meanwhile are rich in vitamin C and manganese, a tag team that fights impotence. They're also a popular food for changing the flavour profile of a particular bodily fluid, but we'll let you do your own research on that.
The Drink: Requited by David Yeung, Fordham & Grand
FIGS, HONEY AND PEACHES
Allegedly Cleopatra's favourite fruit
The Science: What bananas represent for guys, figs supposedly symbolise for girls – a pretty rough deal to be honest. Beyond scarring mental images, figs are miniature mineral mines rich in antioxidants, delivering magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper and calcium. Honey is a natural energy booster and contains boron which is used in the production of estrogen and testosterone.
The Drink: Sex & Candy by Naz Arjuna, Bitters & Love
BANANAS, PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE
A dessert combination to die for
The Science: Besides the outrageously obvious phallic comparisons, bananas are a good source of potassium which promotes cardiovascular health and vitamin B, which improves blood flow and raises energy levels. Consuming peanut butter triggers the release of dopamine.
The Drink: Hashtag Friendzone by Naz Arjuna, Bitters & Love
Juicy and fuzzy
The Science: Peaches, while bearing more than a passing resemblance to cleavage and rear ends (depending on what you're into and how corrupted your mind is), are another a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus which all keep your body in good working order.
The Drink: Happy Lady by Vincent Yong, Fordham & Grand
SAFFRON, CINNAMON, FENNEL, STAR ANISE AND BASIL
The Science: Saffron contains the antioxidant crocin which has been found to have antidepressant effects in tests on mice. Cinnamon is a thermogenic spice which gets you in the mood by elevating your body temperature and basil is said to lift heart rates, while star anise and fennel have estrogen-like compounds that make ladies swoon.
The Drink: Tiger's Milk by Abishek Cherian George, The Spiffy Dapper
RED WINE AND NUTMEG
The Science: While you're probably familiar with most of these botanicals by now, this is the first appearance of nutmeg. In animal tests, nutmeg has been able to increase the frequency of erections while decreasing recovery times. Like many other aphrodisiacs we've covered, red wine also has a positive impact on blood flow with some of the “earthier” wines carrying aromatics that have similar profiles to pheromones.
The Drink: The Hinky Dingus by Abishek Cherian George, The Spiffy Dapper