Cocktails laced with a tinge of pork may do more than sate the need for alcohol. With bacon rearing its sizzling head on gimmicky alarm clocks and other products, the delightful aroma has finally been captured for use in alcoholic spirits. The question is: Will it ever be proper breakfast fare? Read on; that is, if you can still see the lines on your screen.
That old saying that somewhere in the world it is 12 noon and not too early for a drink is really about to burst upon a new and not so sober scene. Breakfast in a booze bottle, which is what some Washingtonians are calling “bacon-flavored vodka”, is the all the rage in Seattle and sales are sizzling in non-frying pans everywhere. At about $30 a bottle, it’s a wonder there aren’t eggs served with it, but maybe that represents a breakfast from times long past.
The word “vodka” derives from the Russian word for water, voda. It began to appear in Russian dictionaries in the mid-19th century. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the drink originated in the grain-growing region that today is a part of western Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland, and it dates back to the 14th century. Classic vodka is 40% (80 proof), a standard for production that was established back in 1894 by Tsar Alexander III.
Although vodka is traditionally drank “neat” in the Eastern European and Nordic countries of the “Vodka Belt”, its popularity elsewhere owes much to its usefulness in cocktails and other mixed drinks, such as the bloody mary, the screwdriver, the white Russian, the vodka tonic, and vodka martini.
The idea for bacon vodka belongs exclusively to Seattle-based Black Rock Spirits, and it has become an inspiration to bartenders all across that city to concoct cocktails that reflect a love of all thinks pork. In the words of sales director, Stefan Schachtell:
“There is a real fanatical following for bacon products and bacon in general. People love bacon.”
The vodka market is overflowing with fruity infusions from watermelon to pomegranate, but the leader in the liquid meat market by far in terms of sales is Bakon Vodka, which is a superior quality potato variety with a savory bacon flavor. It is currently available at about 15 liquor stores and some 25 bars across the state of Washington and can also be purchased in Idaho, Montana and Oregon. It can also be purchased online.
The secret to this vodka’s success has to do with the superior quality Idaho potatoes that are utilized to create it instead of the usual random blend of grains that compose most vodkas. Bakon Vodka is distilled via a single heating process that doesn’t “bruise” the alcohol. The remaining flavor is clean and refreshing with a delicious bacon flavor to boot!
Bakon Vodka can also be used at barbecues as a spiked marinade that is unlike any other. (Don’t drive alone to this barbecue, as a designated vegetarian driver is likely to be needed.) The Bakon Vodka website has many recipes to choose from if you are sober enough to feel creative in the culinary sense. In fact, you can even make your own bacon-flavored vodka, but do so at your own risk.
Add cooked bacon to a clean pint sized mason jar. Trim the ends of the bacon if they are too tall to fit. Or you can just throw in a bunch of fried up bacon scraps. Crushed black peppercorns can be added for a real zing, but check your zinger scale of tolerance first.
Fill the jar up with vodka. Cap and place in a dark cupboard for at least three weeks. Then place the bacon vodka in the freezer to solidify the fats. Contact local authorities to be on hand before opening and then strain out the fats through a coffee filter. The yield should be clear, pale yellow bacon vodka. (If it is any other color, check with health officials.) Decant into decorative bottles and enjoy.
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