They say that necessity is the mother of invention, which is a classy way of expressing desperation. But we’ve all been there—or most of us have, anyway. And when it comes to a stiff drink at the end of a workday, it’s hard to think of anyone who hasn’t managed to create a strange cocktail with the ingredients before them.
Sometimes, while house-sitting for a friend’s parents in the middle of nowhere (like the Highlands of the Pacific Palisades), the grocery store just sounds way too far away. Digging through cabinets, fridges (kitchen and garage), bars, and pantries yields a reminder of the pleasures that a fully-stocked household offers.
Imagine rooting around and finding some gin and some sparkling water, plus some hibiscus water. Outside, a rosemary bush looks ripe for the pickin’. And that’s it—no citrus, no bitters, no nothing. But necessity is the mother of invention, right? So get to inventing something!
In this extreme case, anyone might be tempted to take a sample of some hibiscus water. What even is it? The label reads “Fee Brothers Hibiscus Water” with the slogan “Don’t Squeeze Use Fee’s” and a declaration that the company’s been around since 1864. And yet, no one’s ever heard of them, which is odd…
But a drop on the finger tasted yields a surprisingly complex bouquet (sorry) of flavors. There’s the initial hit of rosiness, like a grandmother’s hallway where the potpourri is mixed with a lifetime of perfume sprays. But beneath the initial notes lies a strange spiciness. Could this be a solid addition to a cocktail? In desperation, it was worth a try. The result was Strange But True.
2 oz The Botanist gin
3 Dashes Fee Brothers Hibiscus Water
1 Sprig Rosemary, for garnish
Pour The Botanist into a highball glass over a few rocks. Add a few dashes of the Fee Brothers Hibiscus Water, plus the sprig of rosemary. Top with the bubbly water. Drink deeply in acceptance of confirmed aphorisms.
[Editor’s note: Yes, this is obviously better if you add a squeeze of lemon and a dash of literally any other anything. Still, it’s definitely Strange But True and Fee Brothers is now on the bar.]