Everyone who enjoys cocktails, or rather, drinking in general, has dabbled in infusing spirits. Most stick with straightforward combos: mango vodka, strawberry tequila, vanilla rum, etc. The next step in that process is fat washing. Specifically you’re adding a flavorful fat to a spirit and the alcohol and water soluble flavors in the fat are pulled into the spirit. Once you’ve infused you remove the fat and you’re left with flavorful spirits.
The first time I heard about this method was Don Lee’s Bacon Bourbon. Don used the infused bourbon to make PDT’s Bacon Old Fashioned. Seeing this I was inspired. I tried it myself and, I won’t say I failed, but I certainly didn’t succeed. What I ended up with was an under-flavored bourbon that tasted okay in an Old Fashioned, but really wasn’t any better than it would have been with unadulterated bourbon. And, what’s worse, I couldn’t find anything else to put it in. It met the drain shortly thereafter.
With that, my homemade attempts at fat washing ended and I put savory infusions on the back burner and never really looked back. So, when a bottle of Bakon Vodka (it’s bacon flavored, in case you hadn’t figured that out) turned up on my doorstep, my brain was immediately filled with concoctions of bacon delightfulness. Think of the amazing bacon pairings people have been coming up with lately…bacon chocolate chip cookies (made them, they’re amazing), chocolate covered bacon (had it, also amazing), candied bacon (had it, amazing)…okay, this is getting repetitive.
The common theme there though is the sugar component, and while I definitely wanted to try that avenue, you’ll have to come back later for those results. The first place I wanted to start was what seemed like the obvious use for this spirit, the Bakon Bloody Mary. But first, let’s talk about the vodka itself.
Bakon Vodka has a distinctly bacony aroma. It’s not the kind of bacon flavor you might get when you cook up your Sunday breakfast, though. It was singularly porky. No maple, very light smoke, very. But, none the less definitely bacon. And, while the flavor is good, it’s not something I’d ever drink on its own. I think it’s the idea of it all that gets to me. Okay, let’s see how it mixes.
Bakon Bloody Mary
2 oz Bakon Vodka 4 oz Tomato Juice 1/4 oz Lemon Juice 3 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce 1 Dash Hot Sauce Pinch of Chipotle Powder Heavy Pinch of Kosher Salt 2 Grinds of Black Pepper Garnish with Veggies and Pickles
1) Combine ingredients in shaker with ice 2) Shake until well chilled 3) Strain into an ice filled Collins glass 4) Garnish with lemon and celery
I used my basic Bloody Mary recipe with one minor tweak. I wanted a hint of smokiness so I added a pinch of chipotle powder and cut down the hot sauce. The bacon comes through in the aroma quite clearly. In the flavor it’s much less intense, but still present. And, while it doesn’t added a super bacony punch, it adds a mellow, savory backbone to the cocktail that I really enjoy. As for the added chipotle it did its job perfectly. There was a light smokiness and just the right amount of spice. This is definitely a must try for the folks in your life who lie in the intersection of bacon lovers and Bloody Mary lovers.
As for Bakon Vodka itself, I’ll give you this advice. It’s tasty stuff, when properly applied. Definitely don’t get this expecting to be able to use it in any vodka recipe. The results will not be pleasant. Though, when mixed in the right recipe the added complexity and savory quality, even in sweet drinks, is worth it.
† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.