METHOD: INFUSED BACON WHISKEY (makes 1 quart)
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, cook 1/2 lb. applewood-smoked bacon until most fat is rendered and bacon is crispy but not burnt. Try a peppered bacon if you like a snappy flavor. It’s your infusion, own it baby!
Add bacon drippings to a 1 quart Mason jar (or other wide-mouthed jar with a tight-sealing lid). Add a strip or two of bacon to the jar, if desired, and reserve the rest of your bacon for another use, like eating right there over the kitchen sink. Let drippings cool to room temperature before you add your booze.
Add enough Rye Whiskey or Bourbon to fill the jar and cover the bacon (just shy of 4 cups = 32 oz.)
Top shelf pick: High West Distillery Bou-Rye
Middle shelf: Bulleit Frontier Rye Whiskey
It’ll do just fine: Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon
I don’t recommend using Scotch or Irish Whiskey for this infusion – the flavors don’t meld well with the smokiness of the bacon and that’s a waste of good booze.
Let this jar sit at room temperature for a day or two, gently swirling the contents every 12 hours or so. Just before filtering, place the jar in the freezer for about an hour – this will help consolidate the solids. Filter your booze through a double-layer of cheesecloth, then again through an unbleached coffee filter. This what my filtering system looks like:
Decant into a clean quart jar or scrupulously clean recycled booze bottle. If well-filtered, this savory concoction will keep at room temperature for 6 months. In addition to making delicious toddies, smoked bacon whiskey is lovely over an ice cube or two at your next football tailgating party. Think about it: Booze. Bacon. High impact sporting events. Perfect.