I’m certainly not the first person to infuse bacon into alcoholic beverages. A quick search led me to a number of very informative posts by fellow bacon lovers who all seem to use roughly the same process called “fat washing.” Here’s how Southern California mixologist Don Lee describes it.
The fat is actually what makes this infusion possible. Fat is non-polar, while drinking alcohol (40% abv) is mostly water and thus polar. This prevents the fat from being dissolved into the alcohol. The alcohol itself (ethanol), however is both polar and nonpolar, allowing water to be dissolved into itself as well fat soluble compounds. What this means is that flavorful compounds from the fat will transfer into the alcohol while keeping the fat itself separate. This, combined with the higher freezing point of fat v. low freezing point of alcohol makes it possible to solidify the fat in a standard freezer and easy to remove.
Lee 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. I’m not. So, here’s my recipe that should make at least six cocktails.
Bacon infused Moonshine and Bourbon:
- 4-6 strips of thick hickory smoked bacon
- 6 ounces of bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon) or moonshine or both
Cook the bacon and collect a tablespoon of rendered bacon fat. Pour it into 6 ounces of bourbon or moonshine and let sit for two hours. This is probably a larger ratio of bacon to bourbon or moonshine than other recipes, but I love bacon. You can shove the bacon in your moonshine or your mouth or both. I did both.
After the bacon flavor has been taken by the spirit, pour into a plastic cup and place into the freezer until all the fat solidifies. This may take a few hours. Remove the fat, filter and serve neat or in cocktails that are complimented by a smokey (smokey maple bourbon) flavor.