“Wow. Now THAT’S a man’s drink,” said my fiancé, as she sampled tonight’s cocktail. She has a point- smoky bacon and fine bourbon, what’s not manly about that? Well rest assured, this modern twist on The Classic Manhattan Cocktail is palatable for ladies and gentlemen and may soon become a regular part of my cocktail rotation. In order to get the smoky, sweet, bacon taste in the bourbon, the first thing you’ll need to do is infuse (aka fat wash) your mid-level bourbon with bacon fat. Don’t worry, the fat will not mix with your bourbon (think water and oil), you are simply extracting the flavors from it using the alcohol because, science rules… Thanks Bill Nye the Science Guy! I’ll let one of my favorite bartenders, Jamie Boudreaux, explain this process below. For those who are curious, I used Benton’s Bacon – I still maintain it is the best bacon on the market- you really can’t beat the taste.
Part of the reason I think this cocktail will appeal to both genders is because it incorporates a local product I was recently introduced to called Tippleman’s Not Quite Simple Syrups. These specialty cocktail syrups are developed by the same husband and wife team behind The Gin Joint, Joe and MariElena Raya. The Gin Joint is located on 182 East Bay St. and is considered one of the most authentic and genuine cocktail bars in Charleston, SC. These new Tippleman’s syrups compliment the couple’s other line of Bittermilk cocktail mixer compounds, so basically, these folks have craft cocktails down to a science.
Today I’m trying the Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup. Considering this 100% Organic Vermont Maple Syrup was aged in used Willett Distillery Bourbon Barrels (*mouth drops*), it turned out to be the perfect compliment to my Benton’s Bacon infused bourbon.
Yield: 1 cocktail
2 oz Bacon-infused bourbon or rye whiskey
2 Dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
1/2 oz Sweet vermouth
1/2 oz Tippleman’s Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup (if not available, substitute 1/2 oz of genuine maple syrup)
1 Navel orange peel
1 Maraschino cherry
Ice cubes for mixing
Mixing Glass (I use a Yarai Mixing Glass)
Paring knife or peeler
Chilled martini or coupe glass
Pick or cocktail straw
- Place the ice in the mixing glass and add the bitters, bacon-infused bourbon (or rye), sweet vermouth and maple syrup.
- Take your barspoon and stir your cocktail. The general rule of thumb is 20 stirs clockwise and 20 stirs counter-clockwise.
- After stirring, gather your chilled coupe glass and prepare to strain your cocktail using the julep stainer.
- Place your maraschino cherry on your cocktail pick and place it on the rim of the glass. Strain your cocktail over the cherry to add some of that cherry liquor to the cocktail.
- For garnish, carve a 1″ x 4″ peel from your navel orange using your paring knife and squeeze the orange peel “skin side down” over your glass to release its oils onto the surface of your cocktail and the rim of your glass.
- Ladies and gentlemen, savor and enjoy.