To Lane, the current move toward obscure spirits and new drinks was inevitable, because bartenders, like chefs, enjoy the challenge of putting flavors together in a new way. "That's the exciting part, that's why we start going, 'Huh, I wonder what mixing a Scotch and a rum would be like in the format of an X cocktail and put a float of sherry on it,'" he says. "It's always going to be our responsibility as bartenders to push the boundaries of the stuff we do, but make sure our guests are along for the ride."

It's true: Scaring customers away from new experiences before they have a chance to try them is the quickest way to ensure they'll never try them again. But getting customers to taste new things is essential for new drinks to become popular — even if some, like poor old pisco, never do make it to prime-time.

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