Take a sip and dig in: Meat cocktails are the latest trend about to hit your favorite bar. Across the country, bacon and other meats are taking up spots on martini rims and salmon is swimming upstream and into your vodka. It may be time to eschew lemon and lime and embrace a sausage garnish. Here’s a look at the expanding world of meatier libations.
John Reusing, bartender/owner of Bad Decisions in Fells Point, is always experimenting with new libations. He shared with b his tips on meating up beverages — and exclusively shared some new recipes.
REUSING: Adding meat into a cocktail may seem risky. But it can be done well with a little preparation. One of the main concerns is getting a good flavor from your preparation without allowing fat to enter the drink. Below are five methods of adding some of the flavors of your favorite cuts of meat into a balanced cocktail. I have also added several of my favorite meat drink recipes for you to try at home.
Find a bottle of liquor you think would benefit from a new smoky dimension. After adding your meat to the smoker (I like using ribs or brisket), run a hose from the smoker and into a large bottle of liquor. Allow the smoke to bubble through the liquor for an hour while the meat cooks. Don’t put the liquor too close to the smoker or the alcohol can boil off and ruin it.
The most common place where meat can be found in a cocktail is as the garnish. It can add a smoky, salty or even sweet (with caramelized meats) element to complete the cocktail and give it balance. Here is a favorite from Bad Decisions’ bacon and beer happy hours.
Apple Bacon Cheddar Martini
2 oz. good vodka (I use Sobieski)
0.5 oz. SchÖnauer Apfel Schnapps
Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass
Garnish with two chunks of cut, grilled bacon and one wedge of extra sharp cheddar cheese
Another great place to get a lot of great flavor from a piece of meat without a lot of the fat is deglazing a pan and using that liquid in a drink. If you have never deglazed a pan, it’s very easy and video instruction can be found online. I use either a good wine or vermouth and then cook it down to make thicker syrup.
2 oz. good rye whiskey ( I use Russell’s Reserve Rye 6 year)
1 oz. syrup made from pan-fried tenderloin slices and deglazing the pan with Dolin sweet red vermouth
1 dash of celery bitters Serve on the rocks
4. Beef stock This idea came to me while brainstorming what to write in this article. And several customers (victims) were given it to try. After we got the correct proportions nailed down, it turned out to be a tasty cocktail and demonstrated how pre-made beef stock can be used to make a meaty cocktail.
The Meatwad (pictured at the top of the page)
2 oz. rosemary-infused vodka
0.5 oz. beef stock (non fat)
Juice of half a lemon
Dash of simple syrup (sugar-water mix)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Wipe a slice of fresh horseradish root on the inside of a martini glass, shake all ingredients and add to prepared glass.
Garnish with a thin slice of very rare beef
5. Sushi grade fish
Using sushi-grade fish in a cocktail is very easy if you get a quality product and keep the fish fresh. There are a lot of liquor flavors that complement fish, shellfish or roe without making the cocktail seem “fishy.” Below is one of my favorite drinks to enjoy and to make for friends.
Pan sear a piece of spice-covered ahi tuna to just barely cook the outside and leave the inside raw
Cut into thin slices and spear two of the slices on a straw or cocktail sword
In a shaker combine: 0.5 oz. Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur and 2 oz. good shochu (This is a hard-to-find ingredient but well worth the effort to track down. Ty Ku makes a decent shochu that is popping up in liquor stores)
Shake until cold and serve up, garnish with your speared slices of ahi tuna
•••• Leading the way: Bakon Vodka and Smoked Salmon Flavored Vodka
Bacon enthusiasts can now belly on up to the bar for a bacon cocktail made from Bakon Vodka. And the Alaska Distillery in Wasilla just recently launched its Smoked Salmon Flavored Vodka, about a year after the Seattle-based Black Rock Spirits introduced Bakon Vodka. Where did these come from? “I think there was some madness and some drunkenness involved, honestly,” said Toby Foster, an Alaska Distillery partner and the one charged with coming up with new flavors with Alaska themes. Foster’s intent was to market a local vodka which would stand out among the numerous other bottles on the liquor store shelves. “I was trying to think of something Alaskan. What’s more Alaskan than smoked salmon?” he said. Vodka is the highest-selling spirits category in the country, and in the past five or six years, flavored vodkas have been taking off, said Danielle Eddy, spokeswoman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “In the past few months, Bakon Vodka came out on the market. However, smoked salmon vodka is the most unique that we’ve heard of,” Eddy said. The five-year-old Alaska Distillery uses Alaska products when it can: grain from Delta Junction, potatoes from the Matanuska-Susitna valley and now salmon caught in the Gulf of Alaska. The key to the newest vodka’s flavor is how they smoke the salmon. Once the fish is smoked, the skin is removed and employees masticate the fillets. The chunks are placed into a large vat, where highly concentrated ethanol is mixed in. From that stew is pulled the flavor, rich color and essence of the salmon. Both vodkas have found uses beyond their intended use in a Bloody Mary. “It’s good for all of us because it takes it out of the stage of a novelty,” said Black Rock Spirits partner Sven Liden. “Especially when you see these flavors in cocktail lounges, it’s not just something weird to do.” AP AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Photos by Brian Krista, b