Take a sip: the fat-washed Barded Black Bird

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Barded Blackbird
  • Zach Piper
  • Barded Blackbird

As it was written, yesterday afternoon four amateur mixologists assembled at Sable to submit their bacon cocktails in the Reader's Baconfest 2012 cocktail challenge. Mike Ryan, Stephen Cole, and myself had a fine time evaluating these, and with some small discussion declared a winner in a scotch-based tipple called the Barded Blackbird, by Zach Piper. As he explains on his delightful blog, he was going for a middle ground in terms of overall baconiness (which I certainly appreciated), and though he incorporated fat-washed Black Grouse scotch and a barspoon of bacon tincture the drink was significantly brightened by a homemade orange-blossom maple syrup and couple of herbal liqueurs. And for that he was awarded a pair of tickets to the fest and a Golden Rasher.

If you have a home sous vide machine you can make one too. Recipe after the jump.

Barded Black Bird
2 oz bacon fat-washed Black Grouse*
1/2 oz The Bitter Truth E**X**R
1/2 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
1/4 oz orange-blossom maple syrup**
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
1 barspoon (1/16 oz) bacon tincture***

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with plenty of ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with wide strip of orange zest.


Fat-washed Black Grouse*
2 oz rendered bacon fat, from about eight strips of hickory-smoked bacon
8 oz Black Grouse

Slowly cook bacon in a skillet until well browned, strain the rendered fat into a glass jar. Add whiskey, tighten lid, and shake well. Let sit at room temperature for one hour, then place in the freezer until fat has congealed on the surface. Remove from freezer, break through the fat layer and strain the mixture through cheesecloth. Store whiskey in the refrigerator.


Orange blossom maple syrup**
1 oz grade B organic maple syrup
1 oz water
1/4 oz orange blossom water

Mix all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator.


Bacon tincture***
5 strips crispy cooked bacon
2 oz neutral grain spirit, 151 proof

Preheat sous vide machine to 170 degrees F. Add bacon to vacuum seal bag and crumble to small pieces, then add the spirit. Seal and place in sous vide for three to four hours. Empty contents of the bag and squeeze to extract all remaining liquid from the bacon. Strain through a coffee filter and store in the refrigerator.

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