That'll Be Eggs Over Easy & A Side Of Bacon Bourbon
on 29/11/10 at 2:12 pmBoozeBlog, Spirits
Christopher Day, Aspiring Chemixologist, writes about his bacon bourbon experience for BoozeNews.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of quite possibly the two best things in this world…
That’s right: bacon and bourbon. (It’s about damn time).
Though the concept of pairing bacon and bourbon together is far from new, it’s still not that wide-spread a practice; possibly because the idea still makes a majority of people reel upon hearing it. However, despite the odd-sounding combination bacon and booze have a surprising amount of versatility when paired together in making savory cocktails. Case-in-point: hows about waking up to a spicy bacon bloody mary?
Seeing as the fall and winter months are upon us, brown spirits are in season and I decided to ring in the holidays by taking a stab at my own experimental batch of bacon bourbon – as per Don Lee (formerly of PDT, New York)’s recipe – and publishing the results.
Spoiler Alert: they’re delicious.
The process of making fat infusions (or, ‘fat washes,’ if you want to get technical) are essentially the same as making any other fruit or spice infusion you’ve undoubtedly seen at most high-end bars: take fruit or spice (in this case: bacon fat, and not the bacon itself) and steep it in booze (bourbon) for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. In the case of my bacon bourbon, I chose to use Old Fitzgerald (one of only 6 bourbons that are still bottled in bond) and – holding true to the original recipe from Don – fat from 4 strips of thick, Benton’s Hickory Smoked Country Bacon that my fellow cocktail-aficionado-in-arms, Jon graciously bestowed upon me.
For this recipe you will need:
• 1 bottle (750 ml) of decent, yet inexpensive bourbon (ie. somewhere between $12-20). Please, do not put bacon fat into Pappy Van Winkle or Hirsh 16 Year. I will find out; and I will kill you dead.
• 1.5-2 ounces of smoky bacon fat
• An air-tight, sealable jar or jug for the infusion
• A measuring cup and funnel to store and pour the sequestered bacon fat
• Fine mesh strainer and cotton (or disposable coffee filter)
After frying only 2 bacon strips I saw that I had already collected 2 ounces of fat from the pan. Oh, the glory! (I made more bacon, anyway).
Once I finished collecting the fat I needed (this is starting to sound like Ed Norton’s monologue in Fight Club), I added 2 ounces of it to a freshly washed, seal-able jug into which I had already poured the entire bottle of Old Fitzgerald.
After sealing the jug and giving it a good shake, I allowed it to sit and steep in a dark cabinet for just 1 day. (Note: even at room temperature, the fat should begin to coagulate on its own. Pay no mind to this; you’re doing it right). At the end of the first day, I stuck the bottle in the freezer to get whatever dissolved fat that still remained to congeal and separate from the rest of the bourbon. I then double strained the (admittedly nasty-looking) mixture – because I’m a chemist and anal about purity – through a wire mesh strainer over a funnel which I had plugged with cotton to catch any finer pieces of fat that might have gotten through the mesh.
1 day and 1 hour of meticulous straining later, it is ready. Oh, is it ever ready. The original burnt wood and caramel notes of the original bourbon are not so much complimented as they are butting heads with the intensely smoky and savory character imparted by the bacon, which also happens to add a smooth, buttery texture.
While I think I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how to dispose of the ‘byproducts’ from the fat production, I CAN recommend using your newly acquired elixir in the aforementioned bacon bourbon bloody mary, or – if you’re not interested in purchasing 15 ingredients to make your own bloody mary mix – the simple yet elegant Benton’s Old Fashioned, which Don does a lovely job of explaining in the video after the jump.
Finally, an excuse to drink bourbon in the morning.
Oh, who am I kidding…