The balance and integration of flavors in cocktails and also in cooking is not a simple science. Discovering or unearthing combinations is an art as well as an accident.
We enjoy the pleasures of combining alcohol in cooking as well as in prepared cocktails, and many times it is the simplest of combinations which have been in our face for years which finally trigger a spark or idea which we may run with.
For instance, margaritas, tequila citrus based drinks are normally in my hand when eating spicy well seasoned herbal foods. They work. Consequently, our work with Steve Stallard at blis caviar has continued to stretch our imagination and the flavoring or roe and beyond. Similarly, we were looking for an alternative to the traditional spicy cod roe Aki is fond of. Hence, we talked with Steve and he was willing to give it a shot. The creamy rich roe would provide a balance to the complex tequila and melony-spicy habanero. We handed the idea to Steve who then used his own talents and insight to flesh out the ingredient. Upon completion, Steve noted that in order to fully capitalize on the roe's complexities and flavors, we would have to finish or manipulate the roe to present it at its zenith.
While I begin discussing matching flavors and digressed to another roe story the principal applies. We are searching for ingredients which naturally combine or are naturally combined to guide or influence our cuisine, both liquid and solid.
For instance, what about a cocktail, vodka based that used dulce de leche rather than milk, and added wattle-seed extract in lieu of a coffee liquor...or could we then just as easily apply these flavors to a chocolate truffle? And to stretch, we could acidify the dulce de leche, make a cure for hamachi with coffee, vodka, salt and wattle-seed and then serve coffee cured hamachi with milk vinaigrette, garnished with young chicory.