Love Potions

Where Mixology and Aphrodisiacs Combine

Forget the music, cocktails are the new play list.

The nose never does you wrong. Like an independent satellite sniffing out the good and the bad, the olfactory nerve has tremendous power over us. It can make us instantly hungry with just a waft of freshly made French fries or lull us into sleepy time with a good whiff of lavender.

Smells are important: they make indelible impressions and they form lasting memories that can stick around for a lifetime. Imagine the impact when the olfactory converges with the gustatory to create a sublime experience.

That was the notion for the potions recently served up at a guided fragrance flight at MiN New York's apothecary in Manhattan for an installment in one of their Rituals Series- Journey of The Senses: Aphrodisiacs.

Consider the idea of turning a beautiful, sexy fragrance into an aphrodisiac-inducing cocktail, one that you can share with your wedding guests and, more importantly, your future mate. MiN New York's Vice President Mindy Yang presented five incredible niche perfumes that she hand-selected for their sensual qualities, with notes like black pepper, tobacco, patchouli, amber and cardamom.

Each of the artisan perfumes were then instantly transformed into amazing bespoke cocktails by master mixologist and Fabulous Friend, Yusef Austin. Austin, of Elite Elixirs, has spent the last 12 years traveling the globe, stirring up the most cutting-edge, seriously delicious cocktails at the hippest parties and weddings.

Yang's take on scent? "Fragrance is quite a part of our existence, isn't it? These invisible, magical molecules create, transcend and often complete the experience of a beautiful moment for me. They help me recall people, moments, and places. I have quite a love affair with scents. To me, perfumes are necessary accessories; I'm not ever fully dressed without one."

In the name of research, we sniffed and drank, and then sniffed and drank some more and by the end of the evening, our noses had become one with our tongues.

Even though it became difficult to articulate exactly why we preferred one particular fragrance over another or why a certain cocktail blew our minds, it was clear that you can actually marry a sexy aroma with a sexy flavor to create a permanent memory that you and your wedding party will never forget.

And that is what celebration is all about, right?


Here are Mindy's curated fragrance choices coupled with the exquisitely elegant elixirs from Yusef, who was kind enough to share his provocative recipes with us.

1. THE SCENT: Poivre Piquant, by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Elements & Inspirations: White pepper and ginger. Milk. Honey. A wedding story from the Kama Sutra where a mingling of burning pepper and sweet sugar were sprinkled on the bride's veil, to make a 'magic love potion for a lifetime of tenderness and passion!' (A favorite of Mindy Yang's)

2 oz. gin
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. white pepper syrup
¼ oz. ginger juice
Kaffir lime dust
Tarragon sprig

Combine ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a tarragon sprig.

2. THE SCENT: Back to Black, by Kilian

Elements & Inspirations: Tobacco. Chamomile laced with honey. Ripe raspberry. Patchouli. Almond and vanilla. Cardamom, coriander, vetiver and moss. "A velvet smooth burning liquid umber, that stretches out languorously on the skin for hours."

1 ½ oz. Anejo tequila
1 oz. vodka infused with cardamom and nutmeg
¾ oz. chamomile honey
½ oz. fresh lime juice
Cilantro sprig

Shake and strain into a wine glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with cilantro sprig. Sip with a silver straw.

3. THE SCENT: Figue Amere, by Miller Harris

Elements & Inspirations: A trip to Ibiza. The fresh Mediterranean air filled with ripe, green figs. A woody, warm base. Dry and soft. Amber, bergamot and mandarin.

1 ½ oz. Port infused with lemongrass
¾ oz. star anise simple syrup
1 large basil leaf
Balsamic vinegar

Muddle the basil with the star anise. Add the port. Stir until cold. Strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a fig that has been reduced in balsamic vinegar.

4. THE SCENT: Aziyade, by Parfum d'Empire

Elements & Inspirations: A rich Oriental fragrance. Pomegranate notes. Fruity and nutty with hints of crystallized dates, almonds, oranges and prunes. Spices include cardamom, cinnamon and ginger.

2 oz. Rum
¼ oz. Orgeat syrup
½ oz. fresh orange juice
Seeds dusted with ginger powder

Generously rub dates around edge of glass. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with seeds.

5. THE SCENT: Safran Troublant, by L'Artisan Parfumeur

Elements & Inspirations: "Safran Troublant subtly mingles sandalwood with candied roses, a symbol of passion. Saffron, vanilla and sandalwood make a mysterious love potion, a sensuous and dangerously arousing gold essence."

1 ½ oz. Dry Gin
¾ oz. saffron and vanilla bean syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Rosé champagne
White rose petal

Combine ingredients. Shake all ingredients and strain into a coupe. Top with Rosé Champagne and garnish with a white rose petal.

-- Juli Alvarez

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