Using Your Mistakes
Now I usually define a mixing mistake as coming up with an outcome that was unexpected. Whether the outcome was positive or negative isn’t what I’m worried about, but more of the fact it was unexpected or unwanted. These “mistakes” are the only way to grow as a mixer, as it helps you understand how a certain flavorings, combo of flavorings, base, layer, or recipe, work in the end.
Let’s say I’m mixing up a new recipe. I’m using ingredients that I’ve used before, and in this new recipe, I’m expecting them to taste a certain way. In this example, we’ll use FLV Boysenberry at 3% and FA Raspberry at 2%. I’m trying to make a simple red raspberry recipe. Well when I mix them together, instead of a red raspberry, I’m faced with a candied Blue Raspberry flavor.
From this mistake, I’ve found a great pairing to use for blue raspberry, which would have never been known unless I mixed them up. To take things in a more subtle direction, let’s use CAP Lemon Lime at 3% and WS-23 at 1%. Now, I’m trying to make an icy Sprite recipe, but upon mixing these up, I find it’s a great overall soda base, that can be used and mixed with a myriad of fruits. There are so many of these “mistakes” that we make when we mix, that we often don’t even notice the. And more often than not, they work in our favor and allow us to build out our mixing arsenal.
Unfortunately, it’s not always rainbows and roses. Sometimes we make mistakes that are detrimental to our mixing, and take away from our arsenal. Sometimes I’ll mix up a new recipe, and create some type of abomination. A recipe that’s truly disgusting. The worst part about this is that nothing new was learned, other than the fact this specific recipe doesn’t taste good.
You see, usually, I can take something away from a recipe that doesn’t go to well. Like maybe I’m using TFA Blueberry Extra too high, and I learn that it doesn’t play well in bakeries. Or maybe that FA Banana mixed with FA Pineapple creates an imbalanced flavor, so I learn to keep my percentages at a certain level.
But in some cases, the recipe looks good from a practical stand point, but things just don’t work out. I don’t know why, I’m not sure what’s causing what, and I come away learning nothing and discouraged. This is probably the worst case scenario for a bad recipe. So one way I found to help mitigate this, is to write notes. I write down the recipe, I write down what I think went wrong, and I write down what I’m tasting, in a very meticulous manner. These notes are usually cataloged in my note-taking app, ready to be used when a new adventurous recipe is being developed. Other than that, it’s lost time, and I quickly move to a new recipe.
Don’t be too discouraged
Lastly, I want to remind you not to be too discouraged. Because mistakes are not just inevitable, but often a positive experience, just embrace fucking up! It will allow you to get into the mindset of experimentation, allow you to be more daring and brave with your development, and keep you having fun. Don’t get too hard on yourself if you find you’re making too many mistakes. Just take a step back, take a look at your mistakes, and get back on the horse. Over a short amount of time, you’ll be spotting out mistakes before they happen, and end up with a much higher recipe hit rate. This will in turn boost your confidence, feeding into the love of the craft.