The winter solstice has always been a magical night in my eyes. Being the shortest day of the year, it seems to feel dark for ages, and heralds in the first of many winter nights to stay at home, bundled up with the lanterns lit, snow falling (maybe), music playing, Christmas cheer permeating through the house, and slow moments of imbibed goodness with either tea...or something a little stronger. For moments or activities structured around some intentional act, I like to drink something that feels like it's offering something a little woo woo, or something that adds an etherial vibe to the moment. Every winter solstice, I craft a short list of things in life that are showing up really well, things that could use some positive improvements, and things that I'd like to work towards making a reality. Some might consider this a "manifestation" list, but I think of it of more as a gratitude list and an empowering way to make intentional changes and offer some glad reflection on the previous year. Drinking an herbal infused beverage also makes me feel powerful and curiously connected with the source, so these activities usually go hand in hand. For this winter solstice, I chose to imbibe Damiana (and some other warming winter spices), because for several months now I just can't seem to get enough of Damiana's spicy, earthy rich goodness that stimulates my (sometimes dormant) creative flow. Also, Damiana + Brandy is a dreamy combination. 





Damiana has a unmistakable peppery, zesty, flowery and aromatic aroma that smells and feels super stimulating. It just fills up all my senses when I take a deep inhalation of dried damiana herb or Damiana tea. Damiana should always be aromatic - if it's not, then you've got a pretty poor quality (or very very old) herb. As with most herbs these days, Damiana has kind of gotten pigeonholed into one category, and that's "aphrodisiac" and "libido enhancing". To it's credit though - it has been used for this purpose for decades, and there are plenty of folks who resonate with Damiana in that way. Personally - I've never had this effect, (bummer, I know), however Damiana has more of an effect on my mood than anything else. It has this gentle yet stimulating uplifting quality to it that's perfect for the despondent individual who always wants to hibernate but can't. A person who may feel a little creatively stifled, spiritually murky, or gets the blues in the winter time. That's why it's the primary ingredient in my Heart Rise tea, but it's also why I LOVE it infused into brandy to give it an even more powerful creative punch. 





Brandy is a beautiful carrier for a mix of Damiana, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom & nutmeg to carry all of the flavors of the holiday season with the added powerful flavor of brandy itself. This makes a strong cocktail that's delicious by itself, or combine with a spritz of freshly squeezed orange or diffused with a bit of sparkling water.  Herbal liqueur's can infuse for up to 4-5 weeks, and with this formula you can let it sit for that long, or do a quick infusion of 4-5 days and still come out with an absolutely delicious little herbal potion. Start now, and serve at your New Years Party!

Winter Solstice Damiana Liqueur

2 cups Brandy
2 tbsp dried Damiana
Seeds from 10 Cardamom pods
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Cinnamon stick
1 star anise

Combine all ingredients in the bottom of a mason jar and cover with 2 cups of Brandy. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let sit to infuse for 5 days - 4 weeks. Shake at least once daily. Taste after 5 days and onwards to determine your ideal length of infusion. Once infused to your liking, strain out the herbs and store in an air tight glass container. Serve with a spritz of fresh orange juice, or sparking water.  

 

Joyful wishes and happy holiday blessings to everyone!