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May 5, 2010

Latin drinks infused with "stimulating" herbs


A reader named Lee saw my piece about herb-infused cocktails, and sent me this curious lesson in South of the Border herbs and drinks. Keeping with today's Cinco de Mayo theme, I thought I'd share it:

In Latin America, it's not uncommon to infuse mix drinks with aphrodisiac herbs like damiana, muira puama, catuaba, etc. (these are just the most popular ones).

For example if you hit the bars in Mexico city or the Baja peninsula, you will see lots of women drinking tequila infused with damiana, usually mixed into a margarita. Originally, the margarita was always made with damiana liqueur.

The other two -- muira puama and catuaba, are usually sold as coarsely shredded wood bark in small glass flasks. You pour your rum into the flask and carry that around, where it slowly soaks up the aromatics in the bark. It's also used to spike drinks at bars or these herbal mixes are boiled up in big pots at roadside stands.

These are highly effective sexual stimulants (both men and women) as well as a relaxing tonic (even without the alcohol) ...

Given the number of Latinos living in Fells Point, for example, it's really surprising to me that these types of drinks have not popped up in local bars. With a name like Bad Decisions - you'd think they'd be on top of this!

I used to live in Texas and my parents used to visit Mexico all the time w/ me. They visited the Baja peninsula just last year and brought back a bottle of Damiana Tequila.

On another trip to the Caribbean Islands, my dad brought be back one of those glass flasks filled with herbal bark. Yes it really does "do the trick."

Oh, something else they will do is roast and grind the stuff up with coffee. That will give you a buzz worth remembering. Funny you never hear about that stuff here, but you can get it at the vitamin stores in pill form, or sometimes as an extract.  (It's worth looking into.)

Maybe some Bodegas stock it behind the counter, but I've never heard of it at bars. Only places like the Vitamin shop carry it. They should totally use this for bar drinks in B-more. 

(Baltimore Sun archive photo of a margarita)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:01 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


so the drinks come with roofies? I got an empty bottle of bark I copped somewhere in my travels. The liquor didn't make it back to the states but I was told to refill it. They say it's good to keep the yang up ala viagra.

Ironically, I found on my doorstep last night a sample bottle of a beer from California, MateVeza, a beer brand made with a South American herb called yerba mate, which is supposed to be both a bittering agent a la hops AND a source of caffeine.......... "Caffeine content roughly equivalent to one-half cup of coffee in 12 oz."

Anyone for "Buzz Beer" a la "The Drew Carey Show"? Sam, wanna split it with me?

Did you just blog about your dad "Doing the trick?"

If you want to go for extra innings check and the good thing is it is available in the US.

Herbal plants used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine are facing extinction.
Definite cause of concern, as Ayurveda is increasingly being used around the world to treat various disorders such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, ulcers and many others.

Some herbs that have been identified are - Ulteria salicfolia, Hydnocarpus pentandra, Gymnocladus assamicus, and Begonia tessaricarpa.

Conservation of traditional herbs and plants should become a high priority for all. Challenge
becomes more severe as many of these herbs grow in the wild and are not cultivated.

Planet Green (a venture) reported on this earlier this month.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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