The Back-Of-The-Cabinet Cocktail Book

Did you know you can make mixed drinks with leftovers?

Not meatloaf or old sushi, perhaps, but with the liquids that have accumulated in bottles at the back of the drinks cupboard. I use the term ” liquid ” because some of them may not have started life in that form. The expedition to the back of the drinks cabinet makes discoveries that would frankly have shaken Charles Darwin.

It is rendered fun and nutritious if you have other members of the family – lady members –  who have collected potions over the years. They buy things on a whim or are given alcoholic presents by people who have no idea whatsoever. If the liquor is sweet enough, or is sold in an attractive bottle, or has a twee name, it is going to end up back of the cupboard.

Most ladies do not drink a great deal. Indeed, I remember going on dates in my youth when they did not drink enough – or at all. They were moral times, I can tell you. But even now, in the sanctity of the home, the girls will buy some horrid bottle, sip it, and then leave it to rot. The only use to which this can be put is to mix it up as a speculative cocktail and gag it down.

Some discoveries are pleasant – a hazelnut liqueur in a silly bootle is unappealing as a straight drink but becomes fun when you mix it with ice and milk and pretend it’s an alcoholic milkshake.

Some are iffy – coconut vodka sounds as if it would make a good tiki drink, but it reminds you of CWA lamingtons that have been left in a fly-blown cabinet overnight. At least you do not have to pick coconut out of your teeth but it is still little fun.

Some things – like aged Catalan creme liqueur with floating things in it or the advocaat that will not move – are an aid to sobriety.

The very best thing that can be said about the Back Of The Cabinet Bar is that you will eventually drink through the bottles and can throw them out without feeling that you have wasted money. And then you can go out and buy decent whiskey, gin, rum, and brandy and return to the land of reality. You can break out the Savoy Cocktail Book and not feel that you are trying to entertain yourself in the lab at Porton Down.


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