February’s Punch of the Month

Boy do we have a Valentine’s Day cocktail for you – a recipe so loaded with aphrodisiac ingredients, just one sip and you’ll be ready to explode…

Drink my Fire, What’s Your Desire?

By guest blogger Slava T Gordon

After a brief hiatus in the Punch of the Month column, in keeping with “dry January”, we are determined to return this February with a cocktail positively worthy of your time. Needless to say, the process of guaranteeing that our offering be truly top notch required a fair amount of experimenting and tasting, making the tail-end of our January not so dry after all. Oops…

Bane + Antidote friend Marshall Altier, a sought after mixologist and author of How to Booze: Exquisite Cocktails and Unsound Advice, suggested his favourite sexy aphrodisiac concoction to set the night on fire. The I’m Your Venus is fiery, sweet and perfectly sour – all told it’s decidedly moreish, and as intoxicatingly multi-faceted as Venus herself.

I’m Your Venus by Marshall Altier

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Photography and styling by Jane Hodson

We are all familiar with Venus as the Goddess of Love but she might be more accurately described in today’s terms as the goddess of multi-tasking, as she is also attributed with sex, beauty, fertility, prosperity, desire and victory – a whole lot of responsibility for one lady deity. In this day and age of wanting to be, do and have it all, it is quite befitting that we guzzle a namesake tipple which hits so many notes.

A quick refresher in nutritional therapy: chocolate contains serotoninphenylethylamine and theobromine – three compounds that lower blood pressure, enhance circulation, amplify general feelings of well being and provide energy. The perfect foundation for a long night of fun.

Chilli contains capsaicin, a substance that physically turns up the heat. Its effects are felt far beyond the burning in your mouth. Raised body temperature brings a flush to your cheek and a swell to your lips making them ever so much more plump for the kissing. Chilli peppers are also known to heighten nerve sensitivity adding an extra frisson to amorous pleasure. WARNING: Remember to wash your hands well after handling chillies, you do not want to be responsible for any undesired burning.

Mint is a lesser-known and more subtle aphrodisiac. It leaves those who eat it with a calm body and mind, while stimulating a lusty appetite. Such are its hidden charms, Aristotle famously advised Alexander the Great to keep his warriors from eating mint when at war.

These three strong natural aphrodisiacs: chocolate, chilli and mint, plus booze (arguably the fourth) ensure that this cocktail packs a mighty punch. The I’m Your Venus will make for a potent tool in your V-Day arsenal.

I’m Your Venus by Marshall Altier 

  • 2 ozs Rye or Bourbon whiskey
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • 2 de-seeded chilli pepper rings
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • ½ oz of dark chocolate (finely grated on a plate)
  • ice cubes

Glass: 

  • Frosted martini glass (chilled in the freezer)

Garnish:

  • Grated dark chocolate rim

Instructions: 

  • Muddle sugar, chilli, mint and lemon wedges together in a shaker.  Add the booze and ice. Shake well while shimmying in anticipation.
  • Take the frosted martini glass out of the freezer, dip the rim in the chocolate and set on the side.
  • Strain the concoction into the frosted martini glass.
  • Best followed by a Faust’s Potions Hangover Cure health shot.

For more tantalising tips on nutritional aphrodisiacs and how to use them, read The Devil’s Guide to Valentine Gorging & Stamina Maintenance.

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Claire Hamilton BSc MBAcC LicAc on Faust’s Potions Natural Hangover Cures

Claire Hamilton is an acupuncturist and yogi, the founder of Wild*Wellbeing, and a comforting presence for many disco-weary souls at many of the UK’s leading festivals. She tells us why she recommends Faust’s Potions as a natural solution to the symptoms of a fast-paced lifestyle.

Claire at SGP

Why I trust that Faust’s Potions work:

Having been a lover of potions, lotions and all things that nature can cure since I was a teenager, when I was introduced to Faust’s Potions by Nina they just made sense to me. 

I have studied nearly the A-Z of healing… from Ayurvedic massage with an Indian guru and Aromatherapy with Neal’s Yard Remedies, to supplements with Solgar Vitamins; from meditation, shiatsu and Yoga in the Himalayas to 7 years of formal training in a Psychology & Physiology… and most recently a degree in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture! I finally feel as if I know a thing or two about about healing! After nearly 20 years of learning, researching & experience in my clinic, I can differentiate between what will help a person and what will not very quickly.

The ingredients in Faust’s Potions herbal hangover, jet lag and fatigue remedies are no doubt carefully selected and perfectly combined, but I am primarily drawn to them because the Potions combine medicinal wisdom from the East and West (something I am particularly passionate about). In fact I have recommended similar combinations of vitamins and supplements to my patients countless times, but hadn’t come across a product that combined them in one magical formula – until Faust Potions came along! The ingredients are potent and work; the Awake and Asleep Potions do exactly what they say on the tin. And as they come in such handy packaging, I can now stop rattling around with a purse full of morning and evening vitamins.

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Why I recommend Faust’s Potions:

A lot of my patients work hard and play hard, and hence suffer from the inevitable exhaustion, anxiety and insomnia that affects such types. People who live a fast-paced lifestyle tend to use coffee to get going in the morning and keep going beyond, alcohol to calm down at the end of the day and in a lot of cases prescription drugs to help with sleep and feeling sane. This lifestyle is not sustainable over a long period of time without negatively affecting health. Many people are now seeking a more natural, balanced and healthy way to keep up with their lifestyles.

Because of my work in London as a healthcare practitioner and as founder of Wild*Wellbeing at the renowned Secret Garden Party and Wilderness festivals, I have witnessed the need for this kind of remedy first-hand. I have recommended Faust’s Potions to my patients time and time again. Naturally they are an essential part of my personal survival kit every summer!

After a heavy night, people are increasingly drawn toward refuelling their bodies with healthy, natural nutrients which are fast acting and have more long-term health benefits than the traditional oily-salty-food-and-hair-of-the-dog combo. As far as hangover cures go, the Awake Potion has it all. Where the night before is concerned, seasoned party animals and festival revellers would be wise to ditch their Valium for an Asleep Potion, eye mask and some ear plugs… they’s be away with the fairies before they knew it! As 5HTP is one of the key ingredients in the Asleep Potion, they’d find that they woke up in a better mood than when they went to sleep, which at a festival, surely has to be a first?!

Claire Hamilton

BSc MBAcC LicAc

Acupuncturist, Yogi & founder of Wild*Wellbeing

www.claire-hamilton.com

Twitter @WellbeingLondon

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Faust’s Potions natural solutions are available to purchase here.

How to Choose the Best Wedding Favours

Wedding favours have the potential to surprise and delight your guests. Get this important part of your wedding reception right and your guests will leave feeling loved up and tickled pink. Get it wrong and you’ll adding to the ever growing trash pile of worthless tack in the sky.

glowsticks Image courtesy of Bespoke Bride.

While there may be many definitive lists of wedding favour ideas around, such as the most creative wedding favour ideas or the best eco wedding favour ideas, when deciding what to put on the tables at your wedding the best starting point is to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. When you do, a few obvious rules emerge:

1. All wedding favours should reflect the couple getting married. What is important to you? Whether it is health, being environmentally friendly or breaking all the rules in the book, don’t abdicate your personality when it comes to choosing your favours. Guests want to feel as if they are in a world of your creation.

2. Wedding favours should be a treat for your guests. While many couples opt for personalised wedding favours commemorating the date of their marriage etc, by the time your guests reach dinner they will have spent an entire day thinking about you. Why not make this bit about them? Something delicious, a fun activity, a conversation starter – whatever you go with, think about your friends and family and what they would like to receive.

3. Ultimately, favours should be consumable, wearable or small enough to fit into a jacket pocket or a full purse.

4. Consumable favours should complement the meal being served. Will your guests have room left for an edible treat? Perhaps a liquid favour would have more takers. Example: Faust’s Potions ‘Drink Me’ herbal hangover cure vials.

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5. Wearable favours are a sure fire way to ensure nothing gets left behind, and a great way to help your guests look fabulous. Examples: bindis, glow-sticks, or little pots of glitter.

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6. While little pots of honey are lovely in principle, they are a clunky thing to have in your back pocket. Their lifespan is also limited. If you choose to give your guests a small memento, something they could use time and time again would be of more worth. Example: handmade handkerchiefs.

handkerchief

As nobody knows weddings like an experienced wedding provider we have asked Katherine Hudson, of the renowned Arabian Tent Company, for her views on choosing the best wedding favours.

Katherine

Hi Katherine! In your experience, what sort of items have you found to make the best wedding favours? 

The days of sugared almonds are long gone, and so are the days of potted jam from great aunty Mable. The best wedding favours are the ones that guests can use straight away when they sit down to dinner – ideally interactive ones to get the conversation flowing with the people they’re sitting with. Those favours that can be consumed, worn or used at that particular moment are always the best.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that tend to get left behind or ignored?

A lot of wedding favours get left behind if they’re not instantly engaging to a guest when they come across them.

Are there certain types of wedding favours that encourage guests to interact with one another?

I’m a fan of fancy dress items – silly sunglasses, moustaches, head-gear etc. They are great for creating interaction amongst the guests.

What is the cleverest wedding favour you have ever come across?

Whilst not hugely clever, probably the best (and most used) favour that I saw at a wedding was a little bottle of Tuaca (the bride and groom drank a lot of it when they first met!) – all the little bottles were empty at the end of the night as they got used for a special toast to the bride and groom.

Tuaca Bottles Tuaca Bottles by Infinity Photographic.

You can read more about Katherine’s work, as see examples of her unique wedding marquees, furniture and props on the Arabian Tent Company website.

If you’re still at a loss, consider some of the ‘definitive’ wedding favour ideas lists below but consider the above and PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Buzzfeed Life’s 42 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Want

Popsugar’s 45 Wedding Favors Your Guests Will Actually Use

Rock My Wedding’s Favour Me

No Impact Bride’s 10 Green Wedding Favor Ideas

Real Simple’s 10 Creative Wedding Favor Ideas

Bespoke Bride’s 50 Fab Favours for Your Wedding Day