Monday, January 14, 2013

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Damiana Cordial for Valentine’s Day

Damiana [Turnera diffusa] is a shrub native to the southwestern U.S. and Central America. It has an affinity for the nervous system and, among other attributes, it has a wide reputation as a relaxing aphrodisiac in its native range. In Mexico, for example, damiana liqueur is sold in distinctive bottles.

Damiana cordial can easily be made at home. The key is to let the preparation age long enough to let the flavors fully blend and develop. A little goes a long way; damiana cordial is meant to be sipped and savored.

This is perfect to share with a loved one…or to give as gifts. Begin your project now so that it will be matured by mid-February.

Here are some basic proportions. You can increase the recipe if desired.

1 oz dried organic damiana leaves
1 organic vanilla bean, split and chopped
2 cups brandy
1 ½ cups water
1 cup raw local honey
¼ cup rose water or hydrosol [optional]

Soak the dried damiana leaves and chopped vanilla bean in brandy for five days. Strain and reserve the alcohol in an airtight jar.

Place the strained, brandy-saturated damiana and vanilla in a separate jar and add the water. Mix well and let sit for three days.

Strain. Reserve the water in a fresh container. Compost the spent herb.

Warm the water extract gently in a pot over low heat. Dissolve the honey into this.

Add the sweetened water extract to the previously made alcohol extract and stir well.

Pour into sterilized bottle[s], label, and let age for one month or longer.

Can use as is or serve with a splash of rose water or hydrosol. Enjoy!

The Quick Version—

1 cup of vanilla extract
2 T damiana leaves
1 T honey or maple syrup

Stir well and let mixture sit for one week. Strain through cheesecloth and bottle.

Many thanks to Diana De Luca for the inspiration. Check out her wonderful book Botanica Erotica, which makes a fantastic complement for amorous gifting. It is full of delicious recipes to nourish the playfulness of body, mind and spirit.