An awesome responsibility

Some years ago (okay, about twelve), I came across a recipe for a cake that required that one soak a quantity of raisins in bourbon overnight. I made the cake. It was very good. A few weeks later, I decided it might be a good idea to make that cake again, perhaps several of them, so I took some more raisins and set them to soak in bourbon in a large, sealed jar. Didn't make the cake. Still have the raisins, soaking in the bourbon for over a decade. Every couple of years, I taste one (tastes like a raisin that has been soaking in bourbon for a long time), top the jar off with more bourbon, and shove it back to the position it has established squatters' rights to at the back of the shelf.

In recent years, I have begun to be concerned about the responsibility of having these raisins aged in bourbon. Just suppose I was to make something from them and it proved to be transcendentally good. Then what? I'm out of raisins and it might take as long as another decade or so to produce more. It could well be that raisins that have soaked in bourbon for as little as a year or so are just mediocre. Who knows? And how does one find out without taking the incredible risk of using up the only known supply of long-term bourbon-infused raisins?

As a child, I was concerned about the supply of thousand-year-old eggs. Who knew a thousand years ago what the demand for eggs was going to be? I now know that they cheat. But suppose you can't cheat with bourbonized raisins? Suppose it is a decade at a minimum? After all, you can't make twenty-five-year-old Scotch in less than twenty-five years, even if you can fool people about the age of their eggs.

Then there's the other possibility. Suppose I were to use them now and they would have been magnificent had I but waited another five or six years?

This is an awesome responsibility. With any luck, when I die my heirs, in all innocence, will throw the jar away and no one will have to carry this burden any further.

It's been a few years. Probably time to go taste them again and top up the jar. 



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