Bacon-infused upgrades for Caesars
Bacon-Infused Vodka (makes 750 mL)
- 1 750-ml bottle vodka
- 10-12 slices bacon (see Tips, below)
Bacon Stir Sticks (makes 8 stir sticks)
- 8 bacon slices
- 8 tsp brown sugar
- hot smoked paprika (optional, to taste)
Bacon Salt (makes about 1/3 cup)
- 4 bacon strips
- 2 tbsp kosher or sea salt (or more, to taste)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Pour 250 ml of vodka into each of 3 glass jars with tight-fitting lids. Fry the bacon until crisp and don’t discard the fat. Allow to cool slightly, then add to vodka. For Version 1, use 3 strips of bacon and 1 tbsp fat per jar. For Version 2, use 1 tbsp fat (but no bacon strips) per jar. Screw on the lids, and shake well. Let stand at room temperature for about 6 hours.
- Remove and discard the bacon from Version 1, then place all jars in the freezer overnight. The next day, scrape off fat that has congealed at the top of the vodka and discard. To strain out remaining fat, line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and pour each jar of vodka through it, keeping the versions separate. Store in clean jars in a cool location (or in the fridge, so the vodka remains suitably cold for cocktail-making).
Bacon Stir Sticks
- Arrange bacon slices on a rack set over a foil-lined baking tray. Sprinkle each slice with 1 tsp brown sugar. For a bit of smokey heat, dust with a generous pinch of hot smoked paprika. Bake in a 375˚F oven for 30–40 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and caramelized; begin checking bacon once it’s been in the oven 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes before using. Store individually wrapped slices in the fridge if not using immediately, and return to room temperature before serving.
- Cook bacon until very crispy, then blot well with paper towels to remove as much grease as possible. Cool, break into chunks, and whirl in a food processor until bacon is reduced to fine bits. Remove from processor, and mix in salt and black pepper. Taste, adding 1–2 tsp more salt if desired. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator. (It will keep for a couple of weeks.)
Bacon-Infused Vodka • For the best flavour, choose high-quality bacon, smoked naturally over wood. • For a Bacon Bourbon Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned, infuse bourbon using the same technique. Bacon Salt • Use this salt and the Bacon Stir Stick garnish to give a bacony boost to non-alcoholic Caesars and Virgin Marys.
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This article was originally published in the August 2022 issue of Cottage Life magazine.