Rare, little known and local spirits can bring cocktail experimenters to excited state. Often they have a peculiar taste. Definitely they add special ethnic flavour to well-known drinks. Also they help to obtain important experience in work with new spirits and understanding how to use them properly in cocktails.
Current «Mixology Monday» event is about similar topic. «Favourite niche spirits» is the theme for it, and the present MixMo hoster Filip from Adventures in Cocktails wants to see us making cocktails based on the «niche spirits» which are not from «Big Six»: whisk(e)y, rum, gin, vodka, tequila and Cognac.
Well, what a spirit to choose? Calvados, Armagnac, genever, kirschwasser, akvavit? Due to my Russian origin I should prefer samogon, an old Russian spirit which later became similar to American moonshine, but since ancient times is produced by many home distillers with a good quality – better than most vodka brands of today.
But recently I was in experiments with Bavarian apple and pear schnaps so the story how I got it was fresh in my memory. Once I’ve bought it in a souvenir shop when I visited a small village in Bavarian Alps. Also there was transparent spirit in a bottle with blue flowers on the label. «Oh, Enzian Schnaps (gentian schnaps)» – venerable shop owner told me when I’ve pointed at the bottle and asked what a spirit is it. Certainly I’ve bought it too!