Pair pineapple and bacon for a crisp cocktail.
1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1" chunks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Simple Syrup to taste
6 oz bacon-infused bourbon, divided
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Candied bacon, for garnish
Bacon Infused Bourbon:
1 lb bacon,* chopped
1 750 mL bottle bourbon
*Use heavily smoked bacon to fully imbue the bourbon with its flavour. Mildly smoked bacon will be masked by the spirit.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
16 strips thick-cut bacon
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper*
* Aleppo is a type of crushed red pepper native to Syria. It is available at specialty markets and is piquant and vibrant.
For The Cocktail:
Step 1: Pulse pineapple and vanilla in a food processor until no pineapple bits remain and mixture is frothy.
Step 2: Add simple syrup to taste. Transfer half the mixture to a shaker and add 3 oz of the bourbon and 1 dash of the bitters. Shake vigorously and pour into 2 ice-filled glasses. Repeat with remaining pineapple mixture, bourbon, bitters and ice.
Step 3: Garnish with candied bacon and serve.
For The Bacon-Infused Bourbon:
Step 1: Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp.
Step 2: Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and pour fat into a large bowl.
Step 3: Reserve bacon for another use.
Step 4: Let fat cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes, and then pour 1/2 cup of it into a wide-mouth 1quart jar.
Step 5: Add bourbon, seal jar, and freeze for at least 6 hours. Using a spoon, scrape off and discard the fat.
Step 6: Strain bourbon through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into a bowl. Pour bourbon through a funnel into its original bottle or store in another jar. Makes one 750 mL bottle.
For The Simple Syrup:
Step 1: Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.
Step 2: Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved.
Step 3: Let cool to room temperature and store, refrigerated, in an airtight container.
Step 4: Syrup will keep indefinitely.
For the Candied Bacon:
Step 1: Adjust 2 oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 400°F.
Step 2: Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil. Arrange 8 strips of bacon on each baking sheet.
Step 3: In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cumin and Aleppo pepper. Rub sugar mixture over both sides of bacon. Once coated, rearrange strips in a single layer.
Step 4: Bake, turning once halfway through cooking until bacon is crisp and golden, 16-18 minutes.
Step 5: Transfer sheet to cooling rack and cool bacon to room temperature.
Make Ahead Tip:
Prepare the bacon up to 1 day in advance and store, refrigerated, in a single layer in an airtight container. Before serving, warm on a baking sheet in a preheated 350°F oven for about 5 minutes, or until crisp.
See more recipes from Winter Cocktails.
Excerpted from Winter Cocktails by María del Mar Sacasa (2013 Random House of Canada).