Notes on acquiring exotic liqueurs.

Bakers as a group tend to have very full liquor cabinets, though not much of what’s in those cabinets is anything anyone — outside of a bunch of college kids on a spring break bender in Mexico — would much care to drink: green apple schnapps, white crème de cacao, walnut palinka, elderberry eau de vie…that sort of thing. We use it by the quarter cup and tablespoon for some new preparation we can’t wait to try, then just let the stuff sit. Usually for years. The problem isn’t so much the room it takes up, but the expense of it all. A bottle of a decent fruit brandy can easily cost fifty dollars. Even a couple of years of regular baking can create cache of idle booze worth hundreds.

All this waste could all be avoided if it were possible to buy these sorts of odd, fruity tipples by the tablespoon. And as it happens, you usually can — at a bar. Not just any bar, mind you, but the type that’s frequented by those same rowdy college kids I mentioned. Places that serve lots of Alabama Slammers, Cape Codders, Sloe Screws and Dirty Nipples. You know the places I mean. They keep all kinds of stuff, both strange and conventional, on-hand and open. Because let’s face it, they have to be ready for anything. If you walk into one of these joints at about three in the afternoon looking like a half-way responsible grownup and explain what you’re doing, odds are the bartender will sell you a little for a very reasonable price. Just bring a spill-sproof ziploc bag or other small, sealable container with you. ‘Cause let’s face it, what are you going to do with that bottle of liqueur after your Bananas Foster is made? Invite all your friends over for a wild night of Banana Banshees? ‘Nuff said.

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