Hoodoo you do? A Voodoo Valentine

I’ve recently returned from the magical city of New Orleans.  From Roman Catholicism to Haitian Voodoo to haunted condos the place is lousy with spirits.  Not to mention the booze variety.

I paid a visit to the venerable Marie Laveau‘s House of Voodoo in search of hoodoo secrets I could incorporate into my intoxicating arsenal and I was told that the herb damiana would be a nice addition. An aphrodisiac, damiana is used in love and sex magic in the hoodoo tradition and is often drunk as a tea.  Perusing a French Quarter liquor store, I discovered a bottle of Damiana liqueur in the shape of a fertility goddess which seemed perfect for my purpose.

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Hoodoo and voodoo are often confused largely due to portrayals in popular culture, and while there are similarities, there are important differences.  Generally speaking, while both have roots in West African traditions, voodoo is a religion and hoodoo is a form of folk magic.  It gets even more complicated as there is Haitian voodoo and Louisiana voodoo and don’t even get me started on Santeria.  I do not claim to be any sort of authority on any of these traditions as it seems my research always leaves me with more questions than I had when I began.  However, I have learned some fascinating tidbits I would like to share in the name of love.

In voodoo, there are gods, or loa, that are ritually invoked at ceremonies where they possess, or mount, an attendee.  The goddess, or loa, of love is Erzulie, but she has many aspects:  Erzulie Freda, flirty goddess of love and romance; Erzulie Dantor, fiery protector of women and children; Erzulie Balianne (Erzulie the Gagged) protector of secrets; Erzulie Mansur (Erzulie the Blessed) symbol of maternal love; Granne Erzulie, the wise and gentle grandmother aspect.

Erzulie Freda loves luxury, flowers, perfume, sweet foods and her colors are pink and white – you know she loves Valentine’s Day. Symbols called vévé represent different aspects and the one for Erzulie Freda looks like a valentine:

veve-erzulie-veve

I think Erzulie Freda would approve of a Damiana Daiquiri, a sexy, pink drink combining the sugarcane spirit of rum, the aphrodisiac damiana and the rosy hue of romance.

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Damiana Daiquiri

2 oz. white rum
.5 oz. damiana liqueur
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
.5 oz grenadine (I made mine using this recipe)
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake as though possessed.  Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a fragrant flower, stretch out on a shag carpet and toast to love.

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