the flavor bible is my kind of non-cookbook cookbook - it's an encyclopedia of flavors and flavors that go well with them. so under 'pumpkin seeds', you'll find caramel, chile peppers, coriander, cumin... (who knew! well, apparently, a ton of chefs they interviewed.) i was showing off this early xmas present to naveen when he remarked how useful this would be for making up new cocktails. well, uh, yeah....but i hadn't thought of that.
of course we had to put this to the test. to start, i wanted to attempt a friend's challenge - balsamic in a cocktail. browsing to 'vinegar, balsamic', i found a bunch of ingredients more non-drinkable than balsamic, plus cherry and apricot. i decided on the apricot, and after a couple iterations, settled on a 3:1:1:1 rye:balsamic:apricot brandy:lillet blanc. the apricot wasn't forward at all, but it did sweeten up the balsamic enough to make its bitter ending beguilingly light. the drink, by the way, is evil black. cool. not perfected yet by any means - i really need a good apricot eau de vie - but it's a promising start.
next, another challenge, this time self-imposed. i stole some of a friend's amazing raw cranberry sauce (literally just blended cranberries, whole orange, and whole lemon) from thanksgiving. could i take a passage from the flavor bible to make it into a well composed drink? it suggested apples and (more) orange - so i thought armagnac, cider syrup, the cranberry sauce, orange bitters, and some bitter truth decanter bitters, which have big cinnamony notes. an average drink, in the end, but a good direction.
reading the flavor bible will require a lot of culinary exegesis. jesuit education, don't fail me now.