I've started treating cocktail ingredients like cooking ingredients--if it's something new to me or my stash I make a point to taste it by itself as a means to create a more clear flavor reference. I guess this seems obvious, but it hasn't always occurred to me with cocktail ingredients. I have also never been a neat booze drinker, so I've only just started catching up on those lessons.
Do you do this?
Among other recents--Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, which tastes WEIRD. Like indescribably weird and like nothing else I've ever tasted. Not like cherry. Maybe like sugary stinky socks. Anyone got anything better than that to describe it? It actually kind of gags me even though I've had and enjoyed a couple of cocktails that used it. Now that I know the flavor I wonder if I'll still like it used in a drink.
Also, Peychaud's bitters vs. Angostura. If these weren't both called bitters, I would not put them together in that category. They are night and day different.
Also on my to buy/taste list is Cynar, an absinthe comparison, and an Amaretto other than DiSaronno.
So many flavors, so little time to drink!