On Saturday, I was somewhat disappointed to discover that my Baileys was ludicrously out of date. Now, just to clarify, I don’t mean that it had gone slightly past its best before date; if I’m willing to eat out of date toffee yum yums by the tub, I’m certainly not going to be concerned about something that contains alcohol being a little past it. No, when I say it was out of date, I mean that it had spent longer in that state than it had spent originally in date… and while it might contain alcohol, it also contains cream, so a line has to be drawn somewhere. (Even so, I did a quick taste test, but since Baileys has never made me cough in a comedy I-wasn’t-expecting-it-to-be-that-strong way before, I took that as confirmation that it was past its best.)
As a follow on from this discovery, I did a quick check over my spirits shelf to see if there was anything else to be concerned about; luckily nothing else claimed to have a best before date, so I assume I’m all good. I did, however, find myself rediscovering spirits that I’d completely forgotten I had.
My collection is roughtly divided into four categories:
Stuff I drink regularly
Stuff I drink occasionally
Stuff I’m not sure why I really have
Stuff I’m not sure why anyone even makes
The stuff I drink regularly pretty much boils down to port, sherry and sloe gin. A week ago, I’d have included Baileys on that list, but I clearly wasn’t drinking it regularly enough.
The stuff I drink occasionally is generally stuff that I have for specific reasons. For example, I have a bottle of spiced rum that exists solely for the purpose of adding to hot milk, with a dollop of toffee sauce (well worth a try). I also have a couple of spirits that I use for cooking sometimes, like amaretto.
The more interesting groups are the latter two. There are some drinks on my shelf that are entirely legitimate drinks, but that I cannot think of an occasion when I will actually drink them. Tequila is a perfect example… I might have drunk it on occasions as a student, but I really can’t see myself sitting at home with salt and lemons, knocking back shots of it. Fortunately, it doesn’t have a best before date, so it will presumably last another 17 years, until Isaac is old enough for me to get him drunk as some sort of teaching point.
This finally brings us to the true recesses of my collection. Here are a few examples from the “why does this even exist” category:
Poteen – 90% volume and has a pointed warning on the back that it should always be drunk with mixers (although I’ve found that even a pint of lemonade doesn’t take much of an edge off it).
Prometheus Liqueur – Aptly named; tastes like fire.
?????????? – I can’t type this one without some sort of foreign keyboard (the script looks Cyrillic), but it has a large picture of a chilli on the label, giving some clue as to how much I don’t want to drink it.
Becherovka – This one was surprisingly ok, but the label isn’t in English, so it could be paint thinner for all I know.
All of this rambling can be summed up in two simple statements:
1) I have a lot of different spirits.
2) I don’t drink most of them.
I have therefore decided that this year, as some kind of masochistic and entirely unhealthy new year’s resolution, I am going to sample everyone one of them during 2014. I may present you with tasting notes as I go along, but that depends on whether I can taste anything after that chilli one.