I’d been intending for a while to try some vodka infusions. Of course, in geek circles, bacon-infused vodka is famous. Sadly, the ones you’ll find in the stores usually use artificial flavorings, and aren’t quite as good as what can be achieved when you do it yourself, with fresh ingredients. But I wanted to try something original, that I hadn’t seen before.
This weekend, we made our regular shopping run, and I brought home a 1.5-liter bottle of Tito’s vodka with the intent of trying something. I also brought home a bag of Peet’s Major Dickenson’s Blend whole coffee beans, and some bacon. This is when it struck me: What would you need to make a Breakfastini? Why, vodka infused with both coffee and bacon. I set to work.
Not that it was terribly hard. I took about a pint of the vodka, and put it in a glass bottle with around 2/3 cup of the coffee beans, and sealed it up overnight. In the morning, the color had turned a nice, clear brown.
I cooked up pound of bacon for the family to go with breakfast. I took a number of pieces, and much of the bacon fat, and added it to the vodka and let it sit for about 4 hours, shaking occasionally. Then I put it in the freezer for around 30 minutes. By then, the bacon fat had congealed. With a straw, I poked a hole in the fat layer on top, and was able to pour the vodka out, through cheesecloth and a funnel into another glass bottle. I put that bottle into the freezer again, just in case there was anything left to settle and filter out again, but all was well. All that was left was to test it.
The first taste, cold and neat, was striking. The coffee infusion worked beautifully. It was strong and complex – much like a cold-pressed dose of coffee, but of course with the base of an excellent vodka. The bacon was a secondary flavor, underneath the coffee, subtle but noticeable, lending a savory middle taste. Overall, it was strong, but quite delicious.
Then I tried a first go at a Breakfastini. 2 parts coffee/bacon vodka, 1 part sweet vermouth, shaken with crushed ice and strained into a martini glass; served with a stick of bacon. The sweet vermouth helped counter the strong coffee, and made for a very tasty, savory cocktail!
I consider this experiment a solid success. I think the next time around, I’d use a bit fewer coffee beans, and leave the bacon in longer to balance the flavors a bit more, but really, I’m very happy. Give it a try!