There are probably other threads like this, and if there are any better ones I’ll gladly fold this into one of them.
Anyway, I wanted to keep a thread with chatter about paring down a flavor stash. I know some (maybe many) of you have done this, so any and all thoughts and random musings are welcome and appreciated. This first post will be a little wordy, so feel free to glaze over and think of sports or something instead of reading it through.
When I started mixing, I nearly blindly bought my first few loads of concentrates as a pick-and-add-to-the-basket kind of thing. I didn’t use resources on the internet that were available (like EVERYONE SHOULD) so I just picked a lot of variety and things that ‘sounded’ good. That was definitely a summer juice outcome. Summer good, summer not. Took a while to realize that every ‘strawberry’ is a little different, and there’s virtually no flavor that tastes like any other regardless of vendor. Menthol, I suppose, maybe, is one.
Then, phase two involved adding different versions of flavors, like multiple strawberries from various vendors. I kept it to the ‘cheaper’ concentrates so I could get a big bottle and spend less. The goal was both to get good mixes, but also to load up without a second mortgage.
It was maybe a year and a half in that I started to realize a few things. First, I was suddenly in possession of triple digits of unique flavors. That’s nuts. Secondly, some of these I had only used a couple times, even if I liked them OK. Thirdly, a large portion of the stash went unused because they didn’t agree with my palate. When I first started hunting and gathering, it was kind of neat to know I had a whole arsenal at my disposal. But that wore off quick when I realized I didn’t use many of them. Reality sets in. I made a lot of mistakes by not doing what I now regularly advocate- research and ask questions.
The point of this is, I am now shifting to phase four. That means, cutting out concentrates I really won’t use, and getting to the ones I know I love, and can make a few dozen recipes that will sustain the habit. I’m comfortable with my methodologies and my palate knows now what it likes, so I think I am ready to specialize.
The question for everyone, aside from the obvious “I only use what I like”, is- how have you gone about the decision making process? And how do you approach recipes you see that have flavors you do not have? How do you go about deciding what is worth adding to the stash once you’ve gotten the stash where you want it?