When first I heard those words, my eyes lit up.
I like saying them. Let’s say them again.
I was first enlightened to that particular phrase last week when I came across a video on the New York Magazine website about a drink that, if it’s successful, might just have to become the new Offical Cocktail of the Fat Pack. It comes from bartender Don Lee of PDT (“Please Don’t Tell”) in New York, and as soon as I heard about it I thought it could very well have been created Just For Me.
It calls for a specialty ingredient, an infused Bourbon, which I made last night — finished just before I went to bed, in fact — but still haven’t tasted, as alcohol right before bed seems to exacerbate my snoring. Nobody wants that.
Oh, what kind of infusion, you’re wondering? Potentially The Perfect Infusion for me and mine — yes, let’s say it again … bacon-infused Bourbon.
Let’s watch him make it.
They do call specifically for Allan Benton’s bacon, which happens to be one of our very favorites and we frequently have it on hand, as we did this weekend. I cooked four slices in the oven, strained and reserved the fat, then Wes and I ate the bacon. I like this drink recipe already.
It follows the standard Old Fashioned recipe, for me going back to my childhood, just adding the infusion and substituting the syrup. Seems like a natural. Let’s make one.
Benton’s Old Fashioned
(by Don Lee, PDT, New York
2 ounces bacon-infused Bourbon.
1/4 ounce grade-B maple syrup.
2 dashes Angostura bitters.
Combine with ice in a mixing glass, stir for no less than 30 seconds and strain into a chilled rocks glass over fresh ice. Express the orange oil from the peel over the glass, rub the rim with the peel and optionally garnish with the peel.
For the bacon-infused bourbon:
750ml Bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace).
1-2 ounces bacon fat, strained, from Allan Benton’s bacon or your own favorite bacon.
Add the bacon fat to the bourbon in a wide-mouthed jar, shake or stir vigorously and allow to steep for at least four hours, shaking or stirring periodically. After it’s infused for 4 hours place the jar in the freezer for two hours. Strain the bourbon through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the congealed fat.
Hmm … not bad. Very smoky, but not very porky, and a nice balance from the maple. I like it, but … my bacon-infusing technique needs work. Oddly enough, as much as I like Benton’s I think it might not be the right bacon for this, for my palate. I’d like to try this again with a bacon that’s less smoky and more porky, maybe a good jowl bacon or something. Grateful Palate and Bacon of the Month Club folks, here I come!
UPDATE: Later advice from Don and others taught that the bacon should be caramelized as much as possible to get the most flavorful fat — cook it in a cast-iron skillet underneath a bacon press. You can also use a bit more fat, and taste it as you go until you get your preferred level of smoke and porkiness.
We love bacon-infused Bourbon, and after Wes got inspired one night we learned that it makes excellent Manhattans too. Use Carpano Antica.