Herb Market Cocktails: No.1, Chamomile

Herb Market Cocktails: No.1, Chamomile

Bogotá has a “mercado de aromáticas” or aromatic herb market that sells almost exclusively medicinal plants. Two nights a week, it stays open all night, as the vendors bring in the cut plants in the chill of the night to prevent wilting. You can smell the market from two blocks before you see it: the pungent grassiness of rue, the sweetness of chamomile, the resinous spice of rosemary. It is one of the most magical places in Bogotá.

Why There Weren’t More Women In Classic Bars

Have you heard of Ada Coleman? Her patrons called her “Coley”. In 1903, she became the first female head bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy. Her skill mixing drinks and her strong personality first won the bar the renown it still enjoys today. When she retired, no less than 5 newspapers wrote articles about her impact on the London bar scene.

I was reading up on “Coley” when I came across a bio of her on a Mexican cocktail site that begins “Quizá sea extraño escuchar que una mujer haya desarrollado un papel fundamental en la historia de la coctelería” … translation: “Maybe it seems strange to hear that a woman has played a fundamental role in the history of cocktails”.

Chasing the Dragon

Chasing the Dragon

A few months after I arrived in Bogotá, I stumbled on an article in Business Insider about “the oldest cocktail in the world”, a Mojito ancestor called El Draque.

Mojitos are the selfies of the cocktail world – they’re everywhere, they’re alluring yet annoying, and they’re often not as good as you hope.

So I was about to turn the page when I noticed the recipe called for chuchuhuasi, a tree bark with medicinal properties. Just what properties, you ask? The article goes with the relatively tame “pain relief to boosting libido,” but other sites recommend it as a cure for: cancer, anemia, gout, diarrhea, flu, bronchitis, arthritis, rheumatism, spasms, epilepsy, irregular menstrual cycles, and stomach pain. Oh, AND it “rips panties,” “breaks cots” and “raises corpses”, which is to say it’s a potent aphrodisiac, at least according to the label of this Bolivian chuchuhuasi liquor.

I had to find this bark.