My Medicine – a Mood Enhancing Cocktail with Chocolate + Reishi Mushrooms

I don’t know if it’s the general New England dreariness, the cold, or the lack of sun, but I tend to get a serious case of winter blues this time of year. After reading about the benefits of reishi mushrooms for improving mood and lowering anxiety (and also that their flavor blends well with chocolate), I was inspired to make myself an anti seasonal depression cocktail. In addition to happiness-inducing mushrooms and bourbon, this blend of mood boosters includes:

? Ashwagandha, an adaptogen which has been shown to help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lessen symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

? Lavender, used throughout history as a mood booster and to aid relaxation.

? Chocolate, which releases endorphins and contains anandamide, a type of fat that triggers dopamine production, creating happy feelings. ?


  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1 oz Contoocook Creamery chocolate milk
  • 3/4 oz lavender & ashwagandha gomme syrup*
  • 1 tsp reishi mushroom powder
  • 3 dashes chocolate bitters

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Garnish with lavender buds and chocolate biscotti.

Lavender & Ashwagandha Gomme Syrup*

I made a very small batch of this by simmering a 1/2 cup of pre-made rich gomme syrup with 2 tbsp of dried lavender and 2 tbsp dried ashwagandha root. I placed the herbs in drawstring tea bags to make straining easier. Simply heat the herbs in the syrup for several minutes, let cool, strain, and store in a bottle or jar in the fridge.

Basic Gomme Syrup

To make a batch of the gomme syrup, combine 1 oz or approximately 2 tbsp of food grade gum arabic powder with 1/4 cup boiling water, stirring until dissolved. In a separate saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the gum solution and stir until incorporated. Let cool, store in a bottle or jar in the fridge.

The herbs and the gum arabic can be found online at Mountain Rose Herbs.