Sunday, 1 November 2009

Bourbon and Bacon?

I know I'm not the first to try this, and I'm certainly far the the first to blog it, but I've finally succumbed to the temptation to play around with fat washing Bourbon.
Those of you with a disgusted / bewildered look on your faces right now might be finding out about this concept for the first time, so let me help you out.
The theory goes: Bacon = Yum. Bourbon = Yum. Therefore Bacon + Bourbon = YUM!
Specifically, it's hoped that the smokiness of both elements will interact to produce a super smooth, smokey sipping experience - quite possibly served as a 'Breakfast Manhattan'.
The plan is basically this:
  • pour half a bottle of Bourbon (i'll be using Bulleit) into a jam jar
  • make some massive bacon sandwiches
  • collect the bacon fat, and pour into the jar with the whiskey
  • leave for 2 hours
  • eat massive bacon sandwiches
  • freeze jar of whiskey and fat for 12 hours
  • scoop off the fat later, and enjoy
However, the reality was slightly different. Due to a slight timing error, I ended up leaving the fat in the Bourbon for about 10 hours, rather than 2. Also, due to a purchasing error earlier in the day, I used unsmoked bacon. This did pretty much defeat the point, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway.

So here's the Bourbon & Bacon fat at the beginning of the process. I will be the first to admit that it doesn't look entirely appealing.

So much so, in fact, that I turned my back on the entire jar in much the same way one might to a ginger step-child, and tried my best to forget about this horribly crime against humanity (or whiskey, at any rate).
After leaving this for FAR too long (about 10 hours, instead of the recommended 2), I placed the jar in the freezer over night.

I had hoped for a nice even layer of fat to settle and solidify at the top of the jar, allowing me to poke a hole in the top, and pour the bourbon out. What actually happened, was what you see in the picture on the right.
It was then apparent that some kind of filtration would be necessary.

I tried using the traditional double straining method, familiar to bartenders world wide, with very limited success.
On the second attempt, a funnel with a coffee filter gave the desired result: a beautifully sparkling clear liquor. Feast your eyes on this!

I've tried it, and it's... hmmm. Well, I don't think we've arrived at perfection just yet.
I'll give it a fair go, and shake up a drink or two with it before I speak of it too harshly, but suffice to say I will be having another attempt.
Most importantly (I think), I will be using a smoked bacon, and for much less time on my next venture.
I'll post the drinks I come up with for this one soon enough, and next time I get a hankering for a bacon sandwich, have another go at fat washing.

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