Maple. Bacon. Vodka. and then...
August 21, 2011 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Maple Bacon Vodka experiments. What other herbs, spices, or other sundry flavors could/should I toss in that would add a third level of yummyness?

So: I just bought 1.75L of Smirnoff Vodka. The New Hampshire State Liquor Store on the Interstate finally lured me in.

In the fridge, I have:
• two pounds of supermarket-brand bacon,
• one pound of Canadian Bacon ends,
• and a half-pint each of Grade B and Grade C maple syrup.

On the spice shelf, I have a lot of plastic containers of various herbs and spices.

Particular questions/concerns:

- I do not want to use up all of the maple syrup. How little syrup could I use, proportionally, in order to get the maple flavor noticed?

- I can totally wait a month or two before tasting it. Would longer steeping times work, or would it be unnecessary?

- Should I do this with better-quality vodka, or will Smirnoff suffice?

- Any particular varieties of spicy pepper that I could buy in a supermarket that would go well with this? (I'd originally gone into the Liquor store curious to see if they stocked pepper-infused vodka; they didn't.)

- I also have a few glass jars (peanut-butter and mason-types) so I can break down the amounts and try different mixes.
posted by not_on_display to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: And, since I didn't state it outright in the post (D'oh), I am looking to infuse the vodka with the bacon and the syrup. I am not looking to cook the bacon in vodka or syrup, or put syrup on my bacon and drink a shot of vodka. Thanks!!
posted by not_on_display at 9:47 PM on August 21, 2011

Smirnoff will suffice. That is the nice thing about vodka, even the less expensive stuff is nearly as good as top shelf.

I have made bacon vodka before. It was unfortunate in that is was a complete success. So I had over a liter of vodka that tasted just like bacon. You might want to just fry up a few pieces and infuse a couple ounces to see if you like it.

I don't think having the maple syrup sit in the vodka will be noticeably different from just mixing some in when making a drink. But, if you want to do this all at once I would do it in two phases: first get the bacon infusion done and after you have done the cooling/filtering process a few times work the maple in. The bacon doesn't need more than two weeks and pepper should take just about as long so you can do them simultaneously.

Adding a few peppercorns will do nicely in a few ounces. It is a potent spice so go easy on it.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:04 PM on August 21, 2011

This is a recipe for doing fat washed bourbon, which you can probably use for the vodka as well.

Also, it means you can eat all the bacon instead of having scary gelatinous pieces of bacon that you retrieve from the liquor after the fact.

As for the maple part, you might want to try to doing a separate maple infusion or just use it like a simple syrup in the recipe, instead of trying to get an infusion.

So, maybe bacon fat washed vodka (2oz), a .5oz maple syrup, stirred with ice, pour into martini glass, garnish with bacon straw.

And ideally, with the fat washed bacon, you can find out in a day if the flavor came through, instead of trying a few weeks, etc. You may want to get a few 4-6oz mason jars to try different ratios etc as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:12 PM on August 21, 2011

What about ginger, or some small red chiles? Maybe clove might marry those flavors well. Rosemary would be interesting, too.
posted by annsunny at 10:44 PM on August 21, 2011

If you're looking for spices, can I suggest adding a little chipotle to that infusion? Dried chipotle in a muslin tea bag or something to that effect? Because...yum.

That said, peppers in booze get rather spicy, very fast, so if you go this route, taste it on a regular basis to make sure it's still palatable. You might be best off doing one bacon infusion, one maple, and one chipotle, then combining as needed.
posted by MeghanC at 10:44 PM on August 21, 2011

Brown sugar?
posted by Gator at 6:41 AM on August 22, 2011

Speaking from experience, I'd suggest starting in small batches for the peppered stuff and pulling the spices early. Two cups booze, I tablespoon peppercorns, 24 hours, done. If it isn't peppery enough give it another day.

For the bacon, first you need to cook it, then leave it in the booze for I don't know 2 weeks maybe, then strain, and then enjoy. If I were you, I'd either buy maple flavored bacon, or cook my bacon with some maple syrup and then do the infusion. Don't use Canadian bacon, it's a totally different flavor.
posted by pwb503 at 7:49 AM on August 22, 2011

In response to your reference to pepper-infused vodka, I present to you: ABSOLUT PEPPAR. Apologies if you were already looking for this product. In either case, here is a list of New Hampshire Liquor Stores that have it in stock. It also seems to be on sale until 8/28/2011.
posted by slicesoftree at 8:01 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your answers so far!

annsunny: Thanks -- Rosemary seems to make good sense. MeghanC: Chipotle, yes, great idea. One of my friends concocts this mix of ginger, horseradish, garlic, and I dunno what else and sometimes brings it to parties. It tastes like hot pickle juice with a donkey-kick. That was where my question about vodka quality stemmed from: he uses "Mr. Boston" brand vodka, which is usually very cheap, but it still tastes OK, and I wasn't sure if it was just because all the other tastes overpowered it.

pwb503: Thanks for the advice to cook the bacon first. Seriously, I had to ask myself that: is it necessary to cook it first? I'm not much of a chefy type. Also, thanks for the maple-bacon idea. I will also try the hickory-smoked kind.

mrzarquon: I like the idea of being able to eat the bacon afterward. I have a couple of jars of old frozen curry-chicken fat that I may try with a little of the vodka as an experiment. This bacon, though, will be going all-in. And I don't mind the wait, as I don't really drink much at all.

slicesoftree: Awesome NH Liquor Store Inventory finder! I was initially looking for Inferno Pepperpot Vodka, but I am not sure it's even made anymore after a cursory websearch. Glad to know the ready-made pepper vodkas are still produced.
posted by not_on_display at 11:40 AM on August 22, 2011

Along the rosemary line, thyme might be nice. (But surely--try anything you're curious about with bacon and maple syrup. Easy and possibly-delicious testing!)
posted by equivocator at 9:38 PM on August 22, 2011

Response by poster: The bacon was cooked in the oven, and I put 2-3 slices per jar, with 1.5-2 cups of vodka in each, a teaspoon or so of the bacon grease, and some with a couple rosemary sprigs, some with thyme, and some with both. I also set aside one with five ping-pong-ball-sized habañero peppers, the rest of the bacon grease and 3 cups of vodka.

Also, mrzarquon, I decided to be bold and experiment, mixing the juices from some ribs I cooked in with some vodka. (Fat washing?) I let it sit in the cabinet overnight, and then froze it for the past day, and I plan on filtering it with a (metal) coffee strainer and foisting it upon my bandmates tonight. BBQ RIB VODKA!

I will update before the thread expires. Thanks again everyone!
posted by not_on_display at 1:28 PM on August 25, 2011

Response by poster: Update:

The BBQ Rib vodka was interesting, to say the least. It definitely tasted like BBQ ribs, and I kinda liked it. Of the three friends who tasted it, one loved it, one tolerated and appreciated it, and the third took a tiny sip and said, "OK, that's enough!"

I've had the bacon/rosemary/thyme jars sitting in my cabinet for about a month now. I've agitated them on occasion, maybe 4 times over the past four weeks. They're due soon; I'll put them in the freezer tonight.
posted by not_on_display at 6:30 PM on September 19, 2011

Response by poster: Update 2:

I froze the jars overnight. This afternoon, I filtered a lot of the fat (and all of the solids) from the two bacon/rosemary/thyme mixes, and re-froze it. Immediately upon re-freezing, the cloudy mixture revealed more solids, so I will strain again tomorrow. I had a slight sip of it and.. ehh.. it tastes a little like rubber... not too bad, maybe good for mixing in a bloody mary. Hopefully the next straining will mellow and clear it out more.

I also strained the habañero pepper mix, and took a sip of that, which burned my mouth off in a good way. The burning sensation lasted at least ten minutes. This is dangerous stuff. The end product is a slightly gold-tinted liquid.
posted by not_on_display at 2:45 PM on September 20, 2011

Response by poster: Update 3:

Eventually i filtered out all the bacon and fat solids using a bandanna. The end product tastes like smoky bacon, and is very good in Bloody Marys. Woo woo!
posted by not_on_display at 10:59 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

« Older I'm interested in stories of middle aged women...   |   Is it me or is it Clairol? Only the BBQer knows... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.