Bacon has no season. Pumpkin is all up in your business in October, ramps flood the menus in April, and it’s all corn and peaches in the summer. Seasonal things are amazing, but bacon stays with you through it all. It’s the last thing that you would logically think to eat when you are already sweating like a pig (zing!), and yet its still welcome in all forms. One of those forms is in whiskey.
We got together with our buddy John for another cocktail class this month, and he showed us how to put bacon in booze. (Isn’t this guy great?) This drink tastes like the best parts of breakfast, with flavors of pig, chocolate, pecan, orange, and coffee. It’s basically a balanced meal. Totally fine to trade in your green juice for this one, same thing.
Over to you, John!
Choo Choo, Chrou
This is sort of a McGuire original, although I borrowed heavily from Jaime Bourdreau’s Raising the Bar segment on fat washing. He provides a fantastic hack for infusing bourbon with fatty flavors, like bacon, which can be tricky because the fat can ruin the texture of the bourbon. You’ll also see I took his idea of pairing bacon with chocolate (okay, not his idea, but I credit him for applying it to cocktails, rightly or not) and ran with it.
- 1.5oz Bacon-infused Bourbon*
- .75oz Amer Picon (a bittersweet apertif with a distinctive orange flavor; vaguely similar, though less bitter and with a thicker mouth feel than Campari)
- 1/2 teaspoon creme de cacao
- 1-2 dashes Alpher’s coffee-pecan bitters (courtesy of my A&T partner, David; Angostura’s is a fine replacement, but David’s bitters really help make this feel like breakfast in a bottle).
Mix the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until cold. Strain into an old fashioned glass (neat or on one large ice cube; this is a sipping cocktail, so I recommend going with ice) and garnish with a flamed orange twist.
- Cook some bacon. Eat said bacon. Save the fat.
- In a wide-mouthed jar, combine bacon fat and bourbon, and let sit for one hour (this is where the flavor is infused into the bourbon); you can shake if you want, but its not necessary. For every 1 part of fat, add 10 parts bourbon. 1 ounce of fat and 10 oz of bourbon is a good starting point.
- After sitting for an hour, put the container in the freezer. Within 1-2 hours, you will see solid fat frozen on top and the liquid bourbon beneath.
- Remove container from freezer, break the fat with a spoon, and strain into a container using a fine mesh strainer with 5-7 layers of cheese cloth on top. If you notice fat molecules floating in the bourbon, strain again.
- Keep bourbon in an airtight, sealed container. Theoretically bacon fat should not spoil as long as it is kept in a sealed jar and away from direct light, but if there are even tiny bits of bacon meat in the infused bourbon then you do run a risk of spoilage. If you aren’t consuming this in one sitting, best to keep in a fridge and, if its been sitting for more than a few weeks, have a sniff and a small taste before serving.
All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. And please use caution when imbibing spirits or you may wind up like the pig above.