Monday, October 14, 2013
The Importance of Failure - Why Do Handsome Geniuses That Everyone Likes Continue To Fail?
In the past few weeks this blog has featured a dazzling array of beautiful, delicious cocktails, each one bursting with creativity and daring. How can one mere man (granted, one who is looking down at mankind from the peak of human perfection) be responsible for such a cornucopia? By possessing a strong tolerance for failure, combined with an unflappable zest in the face of horrible poisons and buoyed by a tireless, fearless liver.
While the sublime refinement of the cocktails on display might suggest that, like Athena, each concoction sprang forth from my blazing mind fully grown and well-armed, in reality many are born like side-breaching preemies, slowly and painfully, with great risk to the inventor. Below is one such disaster, which I dutiful choked down and am sharing with you to emphasize the hazards I endure in pursuit of wisdom and innovation.
I've been generally aware of the 'Bullshot' since college, when I found it in a drink recipe book I'd purchased at the Friends Of The Library bookstore for $.25. A combination of Vodka and Beef Bullion, much like WinCarnis (aka Jamican Meat Wine) I've enjoyed knowing it existed but never tried it. For the unaware, the esteemed cocktail historian David Wondrich has a nice run-down on the 'Bullshot'.
For whatever reason, after 8 years of quietly incubating, last Thursday it occurred to me that I MUST try a 'Bullshot'. I thought about it all day at work, envisioning how it's savory mix of alcohol and essential meat-based micro-nutrients would make my sinews twang with vigor and heart pump firmly once again. I imagined a flight of ethnic broths, Dashi with Shochu, Rosół with Zubrowka. After biking home in the rain, I was wet, tired, weak, ready for a restorative 'Bullshot' and to embark upon a new phase of my life replete with broth-based cocktails.
When I started to scourge up the ingredients, it turned out we were missing Vodka, Beef Bullion, and Tabasco. A lesser-man would have been deterred by the near total lack of essential components but like Shackleton I valiantly pressed on. Substituting chicken bullion for Beef, Harissa for Tabasco, Baiju for Vodka, at somepoint in this wheeling-and-dealing the endeavor went awry. Served steaming hot, it tasted like alcoholic Pho, but significantly less good than that sounds. I would detail more what it tasted like, but no one will ever attempt to recreate it so I would prefer to be the sole holder of that knowledge.