Returning to sensuality: January calls for cacao
Annie Lou offers a recipe for a Chocolate Love Cordial and a guide for an intimate sensual experience
For the northern hemisphere, winter is well on its way and the days are short. Winter is usually a time to turn inward, hibernate, and spend more time indoors. But given that the pandemic has already pushed our lives further indoors and into isolation almost a year ago, we are all really feeling the fatigue of isolation.
A concern that comes up a lot in our community is, “With everything going on, how could I possibly think about sex?” We hear a lot of comments like, “Wow, my libido is nowhere to be seen.” Or, “Why is sexuality even important right now?”
There is a lot going on and a lot of stress. Our lives are chalk full of unknowns and uncertainties. So it’s only natural to feel isolated from yourself, and definitely understandable that we feel isolated from others. But this is why we have to take full advantage of what is within our immediately, lovely, and surprisingly generous world. Using nothing more than a moment and your own body you can remember, again and again, why it is worth being alive in this complex world, remember why it's marvelous, and what is worth fighting for.
We know it’s easier said than done. So Annie Lou, our Co-Founder, plant extraordinaire and pleasure-potion formulator, wants to share a lovely recipe and activity to help you tap into a more sensual state of mind, featuring this month’s botanical hero: cacao <3
For January we are calling in the world of cacao. For those of us that live nearer the equator or in the southern hemisphere, right now is the harvest time of the fruit of cacao, a true wonder of this world. Fleshy, bright and gorgeous, this fruit is juicy, stimulating and downright exhilarating. Cacao contains anandamide, referred to as the bliss molecule and can increase levels of oxytocin, the feel-good stimulation of beloved chocolate.
This recipe is designed to help quiet your nerves, activate your senses, and help you tap into your sensual side. Being able to feel present, clear and available for pleasure is a true superpower of cacao. You can feel energized, open and so sensual.
Heads up, you’ll want to start this recipe about a week out from when you want to consume it. This recipe contains alcohol, but you can also just make a strong tea/hot chocolate version.
THE RECIPE: CHOCOLATE LOVE CORDIAL
This recipe is adapted from & inspired by Rosemary Gladstar
For the cordial:
3 cups liquor of your choice: we recommend whiskey, brandy, or vodka as they best pair with the chocolate, but feel free to play around!
2oz of aphrodisiac herbs like: Maca, Ashwagandha, Damiana, Rose, Holy basil, Rosemary, Rhodiola, Lavender, Muira Puama, Hops, Kava Kava, Passion Flower
**You can combine different herbs each time and play with how they taste and feel but we love the combination of: of equal parts Ashwagandha, Damiana, Rose, Holy Basil
- 1.5 cups of spring water or the best quality water you can find
- 1 cup of honey
- Chocolate syrup (see below, or use your own)
For the chocolate syrup:
- 1 cup Cacao powder
- 1 cup of water
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- Sweetness: up to you! You can do up to 1 cup of granulated sugar for a sweet syrup or keep it bitter (which is our preference)
- Optional additions: Rose water, Cinnamon, Almond Extract, Cayenne (just a pinch!)
For the chocolate syrup:
In a saucepan over low/medium heat, add cacao powder, water, salt, and whatever you choose for sweetness. Whisk them together until incorporated. Let thicken for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom. (It will thicken more once cooled.) Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two, then add in the vanilla extract and stir well to incorporate. Taste and add more salt or sugar to preference while still hot.
To store, keep in a clean glass jar or container in the refrigerator. The syrup can last for at least a month.
For cordial. Remember, this part will take about a week!
Step 1: The herbal-infused alcohol (4-6 days)
In a clean glass jar or airtight container, place your chosen herbal mixture and alcohol. Leave this in a dark place and leave 4-6 days. You can do a tiny taste test to see how it’s coming along after the 4th day. Once you’re happy with it, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Strain and put herbs in water (1-2 days)
Take your infused alcohol and using a cheesecloth or fine sieve, pour the alcohol into another clean jar, capturing and straining out the herbs. Really squeeze it out of the herbs because a lot of flavor can be in those last drops. Cover and set the alcohol aside. You’ll come back for this in a couple days.
Step 3: Herb-infused spring water
Put the newly liberated, strained herbs back in the jar where they were boozed up and add the spring water. Cover and let sit (dark, cool place again) for 1-2 days.
Step 4: Put it all together
Into a sturdy saucepan, pour in the now-infused water over a cheese cloth. Once again, squeeze out all the good water from the herbs. You can now say thank you to your herbs and toss ‘em in the compost.
Slowly heat the herb-infused water. Turn off the heat and add the honey until it dissolves. Let this cool for a bit and then add in the alcohol mixture and stir together.
The rest is to your taste. We personally recommend adding ½ cup of your chocolate syrup to one cup of herbal liquor to make it creamy and rich. You can also add some rosewater, extract (almond/vanilla), cinnamon or a touch more sea salt. In other words, add whatever you love and will make this a decadent and sensual experience.
Making the chocolate love cordial is only one part of the experience. Let the consumption be a sensory and intimate ritual in itself.
What to do:
With yourself or with a person you want to share it with, place yourself (or selves) next to a warm fire, or out in a cool breeze. Remind yourself that this is a ritual of love — love that you are showing to yourself, which can then ripple out into the world around you.
Sit with this beautiful, sexy cocktail in your hands. Smell it, look at it. See yourself in it. See yourself as the luxuriant, sensing, devouring, pleasure-filled person that you can be.
Now take a sip. Let the liquid slowly enter your mouth, feel it spread out over your tongue. Taste all the potent and nurturing plants you infused into it. Lick your lips. Infuse yourself with it.
Let your eyes slowly gaze and roam the landscape around you. Let your ears soften and open. Let your shoulders drop. Unclench your jaw. Close your eyes and feel as the sensuous liquid travels down your throat, bringing warmth into your body. Feel your body taking in the plants, the eros, the fierce, natural beauty infused in the wildness of this earth. Remember you are a part of it all, and your body is absolutely amazing.
Sip slowly, savor it, relish it, relax. This is all yours, because you are divine.