Alright, so this isn’t REALLY a classic, but over the last 10 years the cocktail world has seen fantastic resurgence. (A REVIVAL maybe?!?! Eh?!?! Eh?!?…. Sorry.) Bartenders and patrons are rediscovering a quality of libation that has been gone for almost a century. Not just that, but new techniques and processes have bolstered the craft even more. As a restaurant bartender, I find myself using more culinary techniques and an traditionally “plate” ingredients every day.
I’m actually a little late to the game. You want to know one of the places this started? New York. (♥) One establishment in this “new school” of craft bartending was a place called PDT. In 2007, Beverage Director, Don Lee, discovered a process called “fat washing”. Fat washing is basically taking the rendered fat from cooked meat, and infusing it in spirits. Fat in insoluble in alcohol, but the flavor compounds in fat will dissolve and impart flavors on the spirit. Stick it in the freezer to solidify the fat, strain it, and now you have protein flavored spirit.
This gave way to the Benton’s Old Fashioned, which is now a PDT staple. I’m sure you’re wondering why it’s called the Benton’s Old Fashioned. (If you already know, you’ve seen the light.) Well, Benton’s is a brand of hickory-smoked, aged bacon out of Tennessee. It has one of the most distinctive (and delicious) smokey flavors you’ll find in pork products. Benton’s, unfortunately, is a little pricey, so I got our “pork experts” at Jolie’s to find a good replacement.
PDT’s Bacon-Infused Old Fashioned
FOR THE BOURBON- BACON INFUSION:
3 or 4 slices bacon, or enough to render 1 ounce of fat (PDT uses Benton’s, but any extra-smoky variety will do)
1 750-ml. bottle of bourbon such as Four Roses Yellow Label
FOR THE OLD FASHIONED:
2 ounces bacon-infused bourbon
1/4 ounce Grade B maple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Twist of orange
In mixing glass, stir 2 ounces bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and bitters with ice. Strain into chilled rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange twist.
So, yes, like I mentioned in the beginning, this cocktail isn’t REALLY a classic. We will, however, be featuring the Bacon Old Fashioned as a “modern classic” on our Fall menu at Jolie’s Bistro.
While we’re at it, I’ll just introduce you to the man himself.