Cocktail R&D, The Fun and The Refusal of FailureEdit Post
Contributed by on Mar 04, 2018
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People ask me all the time, "how do you come up with these drinks?", or, "what made you create / think of that?" Honestly, for me, it's about working backwards. I realize that may sound weird, but it's true.
In my "former life" I was a dance teacher and choreographer. I pretty much got paid to create pictures with people! The funny thing is, I could always See the music. I could close my eyes, listen, and see what I wanted the end result to be. From there, it was simply a process of working backwards to get the movement, steps, lighting, and costuming that I had originally envisioned. Not all of my visions always came to absolute fruition, though. Just because it works in your head, does not necessarily mean it works in practice! There were always adjustments to be made for the realities of capability, however, the end result was usually pretty dang close to my original vision, and if not, the alternate result was a success bourne of entertainingly tested non-failures!
I tend to approach mixology in much the same way. There's an end vision that I have that just needs to be played with and tested to ultimately create! The key takeaway here is "played with and tested" ... Cocktail Research and Development. We all know what happens when the spice of ginger pairs with the citrus of lime and the tang of vodka, but what happens if you introduce the sour of grapefruit into that mix, or if you infuse the spicy sweet of banana pepper? What about if the smooth fruit of cabernet is introduced into the sour bittersweetness of a bourbon sour? Or tequila or rum into the hoppiness of an IPA beer? What happens if you add apple, or honey, or mint, or cinnamon sticks into your shake of any drink, or even in the muddle? Does the taste change if you remove the zest and pith from the citrus you squeeze in before shaking, or does it make a taste difference if you add an aromatic to the garnish? It's all about playing with your original vision and allowing the results to not quite be what you want ... until you get it totally right with what you want it to be, or even a delicious different version that you love. There are no failures!! Play with the flavors! There's no idea that's too stupid, or insane, or farfetched!
On that note of inspiration, here's the recipe for my honey jalapeno grapefruit puree. It's fantastic with margaritas, bloody maries, martinis, and even sangrias ... any drink you want a bit of sour spice in!
What You'll Need (tools and ingredients):
● 1/2 a finely chopped jalapeno pepper
● 3 Tabelspoons of honey
● 1.5 cups of fresh grapefruit juice
● 1 packet of raw sugar
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Fine strain into a quart container. Use for whatever your drink pleasure!
Feel free to play with substituting serrano for jalapeno, or ruby red for white grapefruit, or adding cilantro or cucumber or whatever you dream up! Let me know how it goes! I love hearing inspirations!