A short story: The Things Bacon Does Not Make Better.
Now that we’ve gotten that out-of-the-way, this month’s infusion is none other than the divine swine that has quickly taken over the food world, bacon. Back in the prohibition days, I’m sure they didn’t fathom the irony of bacon becoming a popular ingredient in cocktails found in blind pigs, aka Speakeasy’s, not only nationally, but internationally. Nevertheless, it has become a talking point in many cocktail bars who feature bacon laced cocktails and spirits on their specialty menus. But why let them have all the fun when we can make our own bacon infused spirits?
There are two common methods to making bacon infusions. The first is to take fully cooked bacon strips and immerse them in a spirit of choice for about a week. The other method, which I find much more interesting for scientific nerd reasons, is known as fat washing. THIS is the method that can be found below.
750 mL spirit of choice
1 package of bacon (thick cut equals more grease)
1 glass mixing bowl (or pitcher)
2 – 3 hours
We start by cooking the bacon in a skillet. It may be necessary to cut the bacon into small pieces to fit it all into the skillet. Once the bacon is cooked sufficiently we pour it, and the grease into the mixing bowl. Add spirit of choice to the bowl, mixing it well. The grease and spirit will initially not play nice, but they can be whipped/mixed into canoodling with a bit of effort. Place the bowl in the freezer for 30 – 60 minutes, until the fat freezes. Once this has occurred, separate the frozen grease Frisbee from the spirit. Now go outside and throw the grease Frisbee, because doing it inside will make way more of a mess than one anticipates #LFMF. Lastly, strain the bacon pieces from the spirit through a strainer, cheese cloth, coffee filter, or some combination of the three. Store the infusion in a clean, dry container similar to any other spirit.
Depending on how hungry I am, I often leave the bacon out of the mix and only use the fat. This also provides a great way when I’m cooking up a good meal that requires some bacon, to not waste the grease. Cocktails are going green… kind of. Another thing to note is the type of bacon you use in this infusion. The flavoring of the bacon itself will be transferred into your infusion. Thus a cracked pepper and/or a smoky bacon will go really well in bourbon while an apple wood or maple may be a great addition to a dark rum. Experimenting is always the best way to find out one’s personal preferences when it comes to bacon infusions. Not to mention, all the leftover bacon you get to eat.