Its been too long since I brought the benighted masses a new cocktail recipe. Given the number of enthusiastic carnivores here (sorry, Old Man and SP, this one won’t work for you), I thought Bacon-Infused Booze would be of interest. You can also do this with rye, bourbon or other whiskies, or even theoretically Scotch, I suppose. Since infusing your booze with bacon adds a smoky flavor, I can’t see it being very good with clear liquors, rum, or others that aren’t already smoke-friendly, but who knows? Scotch typically already has plenty of smoke, so I can’t see infusing bacon into Scotch really adding much, but I haven’t tried it.
Technically, infusing bacon into your booze is “fat-washing”, and it is dead easy. You will need bacon, booze, a container, and a freezer. Based on my experience, the smokier the bacon, the better. Because of the (very) wide variation in bacon, the proportions are also variable. You may have to make multiple batches to land on the right recipe for you. Darn it.
(1) Pour your booze into a container (we’re using home barrel-aged Bulleit rye). We’ve been doing half a fifth (call it 13 ounces) at a time as we experiment, so a pint mason jar works just fine. The wider the mouth, the better, so a tupperware container is also a good choice.
(2) Cook the bacon. I find cooking it to quite crispy in a frying pan works a little better in terms of flavor getting transferred to the booze. Keep the cooked bacon, as it makes a dandy garnish. I’ve had candied bacon as a garnish in fancier bars, so if that’s your bag, go for it.
(3) Measure ½ – 1 ounce of warm bacon grease for 13 ounces of booze, and pour into your booze. Stir or whisk vigorously to break up and distribute the grease.
(4) Place in freezer, and leave for at least 12 hours. I don’t think there’s any benefit to leaving it more than 24 hours. The bacon grease will congeal into a nice, hard mass.
(5) Remove as much of the fat as you can with a slotted spoon or similar. This is where the wide-mouthed container comes in handy. Pour the booze through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to get out rest out. Do this while the booze is still ice-cold so the filter catches the hard fat bits. The end result should not have any slick of fat left on the top, or at worst a very minimal amount.
Don’t expect a pronounced bacon flavor, but you should get some smoke and flavor, and a definite smoother/richer feel.
Now you’ve got your Bacon Booze. But you don’t have a cocktail yet. May I suggest an Old-Fashioned? Mrs. Dean’s current go-to Old Fashioned is as follows:
3 oz. Bacon Booze.
1/3 oz Maple Syrup (I’m liking the darker Grade B, which has more maple flavor). As ever, adjust the proportions to your taste.
6 dashes Angostura bitters.
3 dashes Peychaud bitters.
3 dashes Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate bitters.
Shake over ice (remember, a proper shake is 10 – 15 seconds), pour over rocks. Or straight up. Your call. Garnish with bacon. Or not. But if not, why not?
The bacony booze and maple syrup are a natural. The bitters combo, which I got from a bartender, blends very nicely and add real depth to a drink which is already pretty damn interesting. Of course, you can use whatever your preference for bitters is.
The Gift of Ice.
Because it’s the holidays, one’s mind naturally turns to gifts (either given or received). Top-tier cocktailing requires top-tier ice, and I believe I have located the best home ice maker on offer. Its pricey, but it makes glass-clear ice in a number of shapes. We have the Wintersmiths Phantom Ice Maker. They make a couple of smaller ones, as well, and a number of different molds for different shapes of ice. We have the molds for large spheres (ideal for rocks glasses) and Collins “spears” (long rectangular ice “cubes”, good for tall cold ones). They also have large cubes, and small cubes and spheres (not in stock at the moment).
- Cost (not your problem if you can convince somebody to stuff your stocking with it).
- Size: It takes some room in the freezer, no question.
- Time: 24 hours for a batch of ice.
Upsides: Perfectly clear ice, that melts slower, dilutes your drink less, and looks uber-classy.