So the other night, I found myself in a bit of a pickle.
I wanted to have a cocktail, but the only things I had available to me were cheap honey whiskey that resembles lighter fluid (someone left it here after a party back when parties were a thing), fancy tonic water, Japanese plum wine so saccharine I’ve been considering trying to cook something in it rather than drink it, tonic water, some limes that had seen better days, and the last dregs of a bottle of Kraken spiced rum.
This combination of spirits seemed like an inauspicious beginning.
But I’ve dealt with worse ingredients and made miracles happen.
In college, I was in charge of a communal bar for the science fiction club. While the selection was always wider than what I dealt with the other night - friends paid in a flat fee at the beginning of the semester - the quality was often questionable. I’m not about to claim that all my boozy inventions were brilliant - more than a few were unceremoniously tossed down the drain.
But more often than not, I managed to surprise my small group of patrons with drinks they ended up loving.
Out of the things I had available to me, only the spiced rum and the tonic were remotely worth drinking, but it’s not like that’s a concept I had heard of. Gin goes with tonic, right? Who uses tonic water for anything else? Isn’t that an act of mixological sacrilege?
But then I got over myself and tried it.
And you know what? Rum and tonic is a completely delicious combination.
What I’m getting at here is not so much even about rum and tonic specifically.
I know lots of people (my mother, notably) who struggle with cooking (or drinking) anything that’s not dictated to them ahead of time. People who see a recipe and consider it gospel because the recipe developer clearly knows better than they do.
This, my dear readers, is silly.
Yes, a recipe developer, a chef, or a bartender will know more about what they do than you do.
But you know more about yourself than any of them.
You also know what happens to be in your fridge. Sure, deviating from the beaten path can be scary, but it’s always worth taking a risk, even a little one like trying a new drink that maybe you’re the first person to think of.
Let your kitchen be your canvas, and next time you have a weird assortment of dubious booze or vegetables that don't seem to go together in your house, try inventing something new before you head to the store.
Photo Credit: Chuttersnap, Chinh Le Duc, Allison Marras, Unsplash