Saturday was BaconCamp in San Francisco, and in addition to being on the judging panel, I gave a brief presentation on proper use of bacon in cocktails. The trick is to use every part of a pound of bacon.
1. Bacon Swizzle Stick: nobody wants a limp, soggy strip of bacon dangling over the edge of their Bloody Mary, but beyond firmness, cocktail bacon should be hard and rigid enough to stir a drink. The trick is to get thick-cut bacon and cook it over medium-high heat, pressed under a heavy glass baking dish. Pour off grease between batches and cool on paper towels.
2. Bacon Salt: The stuff sold in stores as “Bacon Salt” is vegan. Rather than support this atrocity, take the thinner swizzle sticks that cooked up too brittle and crumbly and grind them up with a little kosher salt in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, a cocktail muddler and a bowl work just as well. Use bacon salt to rim cocktail glasses, or put it in a spice shaker and sprinkle on top of foamy drinks.
3. Bacon Booze: Once the fat rendered from your bacon has cooled a bit, pour it into a quart glass container with a fifth of vodka or whiskey (I used Jim Beam Rye with great results) and leave at room temperature, stirring occasionally. After 2 days, put the container in the freezer for a few hours, skim/scoop off the fat and strain the booze back into the bottle through a coffee filter.
Photos by RodBegbie