How to baconify your bourbon

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Benton's Old Fashioned

Since my home bar was among the things I had to leave behind when I moved from Virginia, I’m limited in my cocktail blogging right now. But since bacon and bourbon are two Agitator favorites, I thought a post about how to deliciously combine the two was the least I could offer. (Why would you want to put bacon in your bourbon? If you have to ask, this isn’t the post for you.)

Alcohol is very good at extracting flavors. It’s easy to use for infusions. Throw some raspberries in some gin, let it sit for a day or two, strain out the raspberries, and voila, you’ve got raspberry gin. Unfortunately, your raspberries are going to taste pretty nasty now. That’s fine for fruit, but who wants to waste bacon? Luckily, there’s a better way.

It’s unappetizingly called “fat-washing.” It works on the basic principle that most of the flavor elements in a fat are also soluble in alcohol. This means that instead of having to ruin good bacon in an infusion, you can just use the melted fat. I got to sample a use of this technique last month at Tales of the Cocktail, a fantastic annual convention of cocktail enthusiasts held in New Orleans every summer. I’m getting baconostalgic just thinking about it. This recipe comes from PDT in New York and it makes a bourbon with an intense, smoky aroma and a true bacon flavor.

What you’ll need: A 750 ml bottle of good bourbon. PDT recommends Four Roses Yellow Label. I’ve used Bulleit, which you might have an easier time finding. Also bacon, as smoky as possible. PDT uses Benton’s from Tennessee, and while any smoky bacon could work, my own substitution didn’t produce nearly as much smoke character as what I sampled in New Orleans.

To make it, cook up 3-4 strips of bacon. Retain a fluid ounce or so of the rendered fat, letting it cool but not solidify. Discard of the bacon in the manner of your choosing (I’m sure you’ll think of something). Pour the fat and bourbon into a glass jar and let it sit to taste, a matter of hours if the bacon is strong enough.

Now you’ve got a very greasy looking jar of bourbon. To make it ungreasy, put it in the freezer over night. The fat will conveniently congeal for easy straining, and you can clean it up even further with a run through a coffee filter.

If all goes well, your bourbon will now taste and smell distinctively like your bacon. Drink it neat, or try out PDT’s breakfasty Benton’s Old-Fashioned, a version of which is pictured above:

2 oz bacon bourbon
1/4 oz maple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir with ice and pour into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a twist of orange. Enjoy.

[Photo from the Flickr stream of Dansays.]

Jacob Grier

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82 Responses to “How to baconify your bourbon”

  1. #1 |  Dan | 

    Jacob, you are a god among men.

  2. #2 |  Steve Ely | 

    Can we call it “baconize” instead of “baconify”?

  3. #3 |  David | 

    This seemed appropriate.

  4. #4 |  Nando | 

    I’ve had this before. I actually had it in New Orleans back in 2001 and I was pleasantly surprised. When asked how it was made, this is how the bartender explained it:

    1. Pour out a bit of burbon (he used Makers Mark)
    2. Pour in some bacon fat
    3. Let it sit for a few days
    4. Freeze for 2 hours (which solidifies the bacon fat but not the burbon)
    5. Pour through a strainer
    6. Re-bottle
    7. Serve

    I’m kind of surprised to see it blogged here, but kudos for finding it, trying it, and posting it!

  5. #5 |  Ombibulous | 

    It brings a tear to my eye to know that there are others in the world like me.

  6. #6 |  KinkyKathy | 

    I’ll tap anything after enough bourbon…just ask my married neighbors!

  7. #7 |  Audrey B. | 

    This is the greatest thing ever put on The Agitator. Thank you Jacob! Is Grier like, British Jewish or something?

  8. #8 |  Jacob Grier | 

    I think it’s Scottish, but in my family’s case it’s made up. Some early 20th century relative changed it from Goldstein to Grier to sound less Jewish.

  9. #9 |  Danno49 | 

    A miracle if there ever was one. Thank you!

  10. #10 |  Matt Moore | 

    Submitted to the bacon subreddit, my favorite subreddit of them all.

  11. #11 |  phlyingpenguin | 

    This actually works when brewing beer too. For the longer secondary fermentation of a porter, I put bacon in only to get the most delightful beer that I’ve ever made. I call it my Baconated Porter, and it’s a legend among my brewing friends.

  12. #12 |  Bourbon for breakfast | 

    [...] No, really. [...]

  13. #13 |  The Brown Acid | 

    Typically I’m a microbrew man, but I live in bourbon country and I love snacking on salty things (cashews, olives, goldfish crackers) when I’m sloshed. I think this marriage of bourbon and bacon is a natural fit.

  14. #14 |  The_Chef | 

    I don’t know whether to cheer or vomit. I do love bacon … but I also love bourbon.

    Dear god, the alcohol snob in me wants to scream in frustration while the bacon fan in me wants to shout for joy …

    What’s one to do?

  15. #15 |  sirhcton | 

    Good bourbon mixed with other than water? I am nearly speechless. This recipe cannot be kosher.

  16. #16 |  Troy | 

    Bacon: Is there anything it can’t do?

  17. #17 |  Audrey B. | 

    I knew (somehow) that Jacob was of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

  18. #18 |  chsw | 

    If you would like to fortify your bacon, rather than your drink, you can try marinating an unsliced side in sweet vermouth for a day or two and then slow roasting it in an oven or on a rotisserie.

    I guess you could then mix the baconated vermouth with whisky, vodka or gin.

    Also works well with bland meat like turkey, chicken and farm-raised rabbit.

    chsw

  19. #19 |  Jacob Grier | 

    Thanks, that sounds good. When I’m moved in somewhere and once again with cooking equipment I’ll give that a try.

  20. #20 |  SayUncle » Not sure about this one | 

    [...] I like bacon. I like bourbon. Not sure I’d want to mix the two though. [...]

  21. #21 |  Gunstar1 | 

    I perfer the term “baconated”.

  22. #22 |  Oh man | three steps to midnight | 

    [...] There are no words. [...]

  23. #23 |  How to baconify your bourbon | 

    [...] a blog called The Agitator: How to baconify your bourbon Why would you want to put bacon in your bourbon? If you have to ask, this isn’t the post for [...]

  24. #24 |  Scott | 

    There something very, very wrong with you. ;-)

  25. #25 |  Another drink | 

    There’s a drink that has become somewhat popularized in Telluride, CO over the past few years. It’s called the Mitch Morgan, and it’s a shot of bourbon in a glass rimmed with bacon fat, with a bacon garnish.
    This year, perhaps we will infuse our bourbon first – thanks for the tip!

  26. #26 |  tim | 

    I’ve decided to baconify my entire life–starting with my contact lenses and eventually moving to the fillings in my teeth.

    Those in the blog thread who were complaining about “baconify” vs “baconize” need to pronounce it properly. Say “baCONify” and it sounds, well, delightful.

  27. #27 |  Nick | 

    Sounds like it would go great in the morning with a side car of bacon wrapped sausage!!

  28. #28 |  Bacon series: Bacon bourbon « Later On | 

    [...] Food, Recipes/Cooking at 8:44 am by LeisureGuy The Eldest, another great bacon fan, passes along this recipe for bacon [...]

  29. #29 |  Southern Appeal » “How to baconify your bourbon” | 

    [...] Wow. Combining two of things that I love so dearly. [...]

  30. #30 |  Beggin Strips and Bourbon at MrBaconpants.com | 

    [...] the rest of the post here for the final few steps and serving [...]

  31. #31 |  MotK | 

    “Say ‘baCONify’ and it sounds, well, delightful.”

    In hindsight, this is undeniably correct.

  32. #32 |  Jacob Grier | 

    Tim, that’s exactly how I was imagining it. Glad you’re on board!

  33. #33 |  justbarkingmad.com » Blog Archive » Bacon Flavored Bourbon? | 

    [...] This is the greatest invention since deep-fried ice cream! Dude. I am all over this one! [...]

  34. #34 |  Quilly Mamoth | 

    I don’t think this will work with Coke or Mountain Dew. Infusions should meld with the standard mixers.

  35. #35 |  Quilly Mammoth | 

    However most things do improve when they are “baCONify”ed.

  36. #36 |  Abomination « STEVENHARTSITE | 

    [...] August 22, 2008 This is so not right. And the further down you read, the worse it [...]

  37. #37 |  Duke | 

    At last….I know I am not alone in the universe. I have found my brethren. Bacon Bourbon fans unite!

  38. #38 |  Bacon & Bourbon » Brats & Beer | 

    [...] idea from the blog The Agitator. Bartender and man among men Jacob Grier posts on a method for infusing smokey bacon flavor into bourbon. And yes, this is now at the top of my to-do [...]

  39. #39 |  BourbonStraight | 

    I think I love my Bourbon too much to screw with it…yes, I think I’ll pass.

    Four Roses Single Barrel….neat. yeah, that’s more like it.

  40. #40 |  Smithwill | 

    I believe the proper term is “baconization.” My small contribution to the world of pork-infused libation.

  41. #41 |  kathryn | 

    NB: This particular method was perfected by Don Lee of PDT in NYC.

    Watch him mix his signature Benton’s Old Fashioned:

    http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/04/make_pdts_baconinfused_oldfash.html

  42. #42 |  links for 2008-09-15 | 

    [...] The Agitator » Blog Archive » How to baconify your bourbon This recipe comes from PDT in New York and it makes a bourbon with an intense, smoky aroma and a true bacon flavor. (tags: whiskey drinks bourbon bacon) [...]

  43. #43 |  Davey | 

    Mmmmmmm..Bacon.

  44. #44 |  mike d | 

    When I drink bourbon, I drink bourbon, and when I eat bacon I eat bacon. Ne’er the twain shall meet.

  45. #45 |  raa | 

    Try a little bourbon on your oat meal. It’s incredible.

  46. #46 |  amos | 

    I replied earlier but in looking at this list of replies, I could not find my reply, so I’ll say it again.

    This bacon and burbon looks like the ruination of two perfectly good things. ‘too much trouble for a negative return. Sorry!

    Ernestene is finished with her radiation treatments and is doing very well. More later. AEC

  47. #47 |  Free for All Friday 3 : Sarah Et Cetera | 

    [...] A Bacon-Cheese roll. Serve this at your holiday gathering and make new friends! I might Martha it up one more step and serve each slice on a half a cupcake. For extra savoire-faire, serve it with a bacon-infused Old Fashioned. [...]

  48. #48 |  Bacon Flavoured Bourbon « Zoonsky Technology E-Zine | 

    [...] if you have ever wished your bourbon had a bit more of a smokey bacon tang to it, Jacob gives step by step instructions on exactly how to achieve [...]

  49. #49 |  A celebration of bacon « lookingforlissa | 

    [...] claims a Guinness is the perfect drink with which to wash this down, but I’d probably opt for bacon-flavored bourbon, [...]

  50. #50 |  SwissF1fan | 

    Sounds delicious!
    As a dish I would recommend bacon wrapped, grilled Banana with spicy-sweet mustard.

    Directions: Cut banana into logs about the size equal to the width of the bacon strips and wrap them with bacon – secure with a tooth pick and grill over medium – high heat laying on the bacon and rolling frequently.

    Serve warm and with an assortment of your favorite mustards.

  51. #51 |  SocialGumbo » Blog Archive » Coming Up For Air During Carnival | 

    [...] and interesting technique that was presented here in the crescent City for Tales of the Cocktail: How Baconify Your Bourbon. Peculiar? Yes! Smoky and delicious? Yes? Do you believe me? Probably not. Give it a try ad let me [...]

  52. #52 |  Linkdump for February 13th at found_drama | 

    [...] How to baconify your bourbon at The Agitator (via AJ) (tagged: bacon bourbon whiskey food recipe ) [...]

  53. #53 |  Online Stat Book « Entitled to an Opinion | 

    [...] Baileys curdles, so perhaps dairy-products aren’t the best bet there. There’s already baconified bourbon, so I don’t think it’s a completely crazy idea. I still need to think of some names for [...]

  54. #54 |  Linkdump for February 13th | Game Blog | 

    [...] How to baconify your bourbon at The Agitator (via AJ) (tagged: bacon bourbon whiskey food recipe ) [...]

  55. #55 |  The Baconcyclopedia: The Ultimate Bacon Reference of Baconic Proportions | My Bad Pad | 

    [...] Bacon Martini Bacon Vodka Bacon Jalapenos Vodka Bacon Whiskey Bacon Bourbon [...]

  56. #56 |  because you can never get enough bacon. or bourbon. « lafilmnikita | 

    [...] when waxing on the mighty piggy (no, not ms.) the last couple of days, i’d be remiss to not recall this brilliance… two of the best, most savory, sensual, sexiest, voluptuous tastes. evah… [...]

  57. #57 |  A meaty Martini – Crispy on the Outside | 

    [...] should you buy this product? You could make your own bacon vodka, using the process I describe here, but I doubt you’d much improve on this. (On the upside, you would have leftover bacon to [...]

  58. #58 |  It’s not winter « Kaffeebohnen’s Weblog | 

    [...] posters to stick on the wall, and thought about a costume. I even set to work constructing this abomination (click)* to carry around in a glass. It turns out to have been really tasty over ice with a dash of maple [...]

  59. #59 |  Blake | 

    You know, we’re only one step away from a BLT in a glass. Mmm Mmm Mmm! BACON!

  60. #60 |  Fascist Nation | 

    You are all sick people. Or you drink cheap bourbon. ;-) I bet the bacon would improve in flavor though.

    Seriously why not a bacon swizzle stick to stir the ice?

  61. #61 |  Club Troppo » Cocktails for carnivores | 

    [...] America cocktail bars are serving up bourbon cocktails flavoured with bacon. In the Atlantic Risen explains the [...]

  62. #62 |  Bacon Lovers Roundup « Tech to Live By | 

    [...] Was that to much bacon for you?  Sit back and enjoy some bacon bourbon. [...]

  63. #63 |  If It Isn't Authorized, It's Prohibited - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine | 

    [...] Somewhat related: How to make bacon-infused bourbon. [...]

  64. #64 |  If It Isn’t Authorized, It’s Prohibited | The Agitator | 

    [...] related: How to make bacon-infused bourbon. Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  [...]

  65. #65 |  Dot | 

    Thanks for linking to this in your Reason article… it goes perfectly with the posts I’m doing next week on Foodwhirl.com for BACON WEEK! :)

  66. #66 |  Foodwhirl » Bacon! How about Bacon Vodka? | 

    [...] Bacon. I could totally see this in a Bloody Mary, or maybe a dirty martini… (Not a vodka fan? Baconify your Bourbon!) McAuliflower writes: I admit, I can’t remember the singular event that conspired to the [...]

  67. #67 |  Has bacon stopped being cool yet? « The Unpersons | 

    [...] Hulu, no embed), marveling in the type of bacon-obsessive that wraps hot dogs in bacon and makes bacon bourbon. Bacon has stopped being just food and has become a target for ridicule, like the guy who builds [...]

  68. #68 |  Bacon Bourbon cont’d :BaconScotch.com | Bacon & Scotch | Bacon | Scotch | 

    [...] http://www.theagitator.com/2008/08/16/how-to-baconify-your-bourbon/ [...]

  69. #69 |  Lunch Links | The Agitator | 

    [...] vodka. Related: This Agitator guest post from Jacob Grier on how to make bacon-infused bourbon still gets linked about once a week. Here in [...]

  70. #70 |  SayUncle » Cool | 

    [...] Bacon cups. Though I don’t see how they can hold your bacon bourbon. [...]

  71. #71 |  Ron | 

    Actually, there is something very right about you Jacob. I’ve only encountered baconified bourbon in one other place. American Grocery in Greenville, SC has a cocktail called Pig On The Porch that is a classic bourbon and ginger made with Blenheim’s ginger ale and bacon infused bourbon, garnished with a housemade pork rind. It is fantastic. I’ve begun making my own at home, but I prefer the extra-hot Blenheim’s. Can’t wait to try the old fashioned recipe. Hair of the dog anyone?

  72. #72 |  superyogi | 

    love PDT! I had the best white russian ever there. Besides using tia maria and Stoli, the key is to shake the TM + 1/2&1/2 for AT LEAST 3 minutes, and pour the mixture over a glass containing vodka + ONE large ice cube.

  73. #73 |  Jay | 

    Will this go bad? Does it have to be refrigerated? I just read an article on fox news on how to make it and it says it keeps in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Is this right?

  74. #74 |  My Valentine’s Day Photo Story | Gluten Free and the City | 

    [...] is between bourbon and rye* and how to make a bacon infused cocktail with a  method called fat washing from Don Lee, formerly of [...]

  75. #75 |  How to Make Bacon-Infused Bourbon, Daily Wonder - How To Pedia | 

    [...] guide on "baconifying your bourbon", adapted from mixologist Jacob Grier's guest post on the Agitator.  Bacon-Infused Bourbon with Maple Syrup, Angostura Bitters & OrangeIngredients:(1) 750 ml [...]

  76. #76 |  How to Make Bacon-Infused Bourbon, Daily Wonder - How To Pedia | 

    [...] If bourbon is a man's drink, what better flavor to infuse it with than bacon? The combination tastes just as delicious as it sounds—a smokey, salty aftertaste lingering after each sip of deep, rich bourbon. To infuse bourbon with bacon is simpler than it sounds. All you need is a bottle of bourbon, a few strips of bacon, and some mixers for your final cocktail. Below, a step-by-step guide on "baconifying your bourbon", adapted from mixologist Jacob Grier's guest post on the Agitator. [...]

  77. #77 |  How to Make Bacon-Infused Bourbon - Juara Kelas Ranking 1 - Ases Anak TK | 

    [...] To infuse bourbon with bacon is simpler than it sounds. All you need is a bottle of bourbon, a few strips of bacon, and some mixers for your final cocktail. Below, a step-by-step guide on “baconifying your bourbon”, adapted from mixologist Jacob Grier’s guest post on the Agitator.  [...]

  78. #78 |  Whiskey, Caramel, Marshmallow and Bacon Bark | 

    [...] Mmmm, Wiskey and BACON in the same friggin recipe !! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Ask and ye shall receive How to baconify your bourbon | The Agitator World's Best Bars We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public. [...]

  79. #79 |  Christian Grantham » Bacon infused Moonshine and Bourbon | 

    [...] uses 1 oz. of rendered bacon fat in a 750ml bottle of bourbon. It’s the same recipe Jacob Grier says PDT uses in New York. You may be confident that you won’t screw up a whole 750ml bottle of bourbon or moonshine. [...]

  80. #80 |  Craft Beer | 

    While I love bacon, I don’t think it needs to be added to everything. I’ll stick to my Pappy 23yr.

  81. #81 |  From the Past: Holiday Spiced Vodka Cocktails (Dec 22, 2010) | What did I drink? | 

    [...] a different base liquor.  First, I tried making a bacon-infused bourbon using the PDT recipe from this blog post.  My first attempt used Four Roses Bourbon and bacon from a local meat market, but unfortunately [...]

  82. #82 |  Best of the Web: BACON RECIPES- Bacon Ice Cream, Bacon Mayonnaise and a Bacon Coffin | Grill Grrrl Blog: Grill Girl, Healthy Grilling Recipes, Tailgating Recipes | 

    [...] Bacon Infused Bourbon – here are directions on how to make your own bacon infused bourbon. Not commercially made yet. [...]

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