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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting Meat into Cocktails is Tricky but Doable

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 1:51 PM

There have been a few constants in humanity's aspirations: finding out if we're all alone in the universe, immortality, and successfully getting meat to work in a cocktail. The latter is remarkably delicate work. Go too far in the meat direction and it can get gross (and yes, for vegans and vegetarians*, it's nasty either way), not far enough and it's kinda pointless.

The ones that succeed tend to be built on classic recipes. Take a Bloody Mary and add beef stock and you have the Bloody Bull, a staple on New Orleans brunch tables for decades. (Modernize that drink and you get something like the Cheeseburger.)

click to enlarge Bacon and a shot of whiskey at KoKo Cocktails. - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • Bacon and a shot of whiskey at KoKo Cocktails.

At Gitane, Alex Smith pulls off adding chorizo bitters to his tasty La Convivencia, a play on the Manhattan with bourbon, walnut liqueur, and sherry. In New York a couple of bartenders ― Eben Freeman from wd~50 and Don Lee of PDT ― ignited the fat-washing trend that resulted in Lee's Bacon Old Fashioned. The mixture of bourbon infused with bacon, maple syrup, and bitters achieves a nice porky flavor without it all being too much. And we're big fans of KoKo Cocktails' whiskey shots with a side of bacon on the first Friday of the month, though it's not a mixed drink.

Thankfully, when the results of this unholy union go bad, they're entertaining to watch. One of our favorites is the hot dog infusion that spawned the Weenie-Tini, complete with dried mustard rim and hot dog garnish. The duo of Georgia and Alie make combining McDonald's food and booze pretty amusing with the McNuggetini, a cocktail they describe as "a White Russian on angel dust."

Not to be outdone, distilleries are jumping in on the fun. Alaska Distillery is making smoked salmon vodka that they recommend using in Bloody Marys. Closer to home, St. George distiller Lance Winters produced an infamous foie gras vodka for an Anthony Bourdain taping, and recently distilled Dungeness crabs that were the pure essence of the crustacean. Neither is available for sale, or is even currently in production.

Are these pursuits best left out of mankinds tampering? Probably, but wheres the fun in that?

*Vegetarians can enjoy the benefits of the fat-washing technique in the Grilled Cheese Martini, where rum is infused with real grilled cheese, then combined with muddled basil and cherry tomatoes, Lillet Blanc, and a dash of Glenfiddich.

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