Despite the recent string of San Francisco Indian Summer days, fall is definitely here. The nights are cool and clear and the light is changing. In the Market stone fruit has been replaced by an array of apples and pears in every color, texture and flavor. Brussels sprouts, chicories and winter squash are coming in as well, and in every department we’re helping our guests with fall recipes. With all this in mind I thought I’d offer a seasonally appropriate cocktail, something a little stronger and with all the right flavors of harvest to compliment an early fall night…
This recipe is borrowed and modified from Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, one of the year’s best reference books from Meehan’s New York bar. Mixologist Don Lee created the beverage to bring together one of his favorite pork products with one of his favorite spirits.
Allan Benton is a famous producer of traditional hickory-smoked hams from Monroe County, Tennessee. His bacon is prized for its rich, smoky character and has earned such accolades as “World’s Best Bacon” from Esquire Magazine. In the cocktail, the hickory smoke complements the spice of the bourbon and the rich sweetness of maple syrup; it’s a terrific play on the original elements of an Old-Fashioned.
Lee uses Four Roses Bourbon, but I’ve substituted the more economical Bulleit Bourbon which I’ve found to be a fine stand-in. Preparing the bourbon is simple and well worth the modest effort, and once prepared it’s shelf-stable!
The next time you wake up to a chill in the air and the desire to cook I hope you’ll enjoy this world-class bacon for breakfast and this perfect fall cocktail by the time the sun goes down (which is earlier, after all…)
Benton’s Old Fashioned
2 oz. Benton’s Bacon Fat-Infused Bulleit Bourbon (recipe below)
.25 oz. Mead & Meads Grade B Maple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass with one large cube. Garnish with an orange twist
Benton’s Bacon Fat-Infused Bulleit Bourbon
1.5 oz. Benton’s Bacon Fat
1 750-ml bottle Bulleit Bourbon
On low heat, warm the bacon fat in a small saucepan until it melts, about 5 min. Combine liquid fat and bourbon in a large, non-reactive container and stir. Infuse for 4 hours, then place container in freezer for 2 hours. Remove solid fat, fine-strain bourbon through a cheesecloth, and bottle.