Pearls Before Swine- Sparkling Wine and Bacon Washed Brandy Cocktail

Every now and then the mad scientist in me gets curious about creating culinary projects that end up taking up room in the fridge, spare room or cellar. More often than not these are cocktail related stemming from my years of entering and winning major recipe competitions. The recent craze of infusion with fats, herbs and other organic materials got the creative juices flowing when I came upon half a case of German brandy in the attic!

After a bit of research I decided to try a fat washing technique to enhance the flavors of my brandy and create a variation of my favorite sparkling cocktail, French 75. Made with a delicious blend of sour mix, cognac and Champagne or sparkling wine this cocktail has gotten the party started on many occasions!

Opting on bacon fat I ventured out to pick up an apple wood smoked thick slab organic brand from the local farmers market. I’ve seen different measures for fat to alcohol but after a bit of trail and error I’ll share what gave me the best results. Slowly cooking 2 lbs. of the bacon I rendered the fat saving the small crunchy bits with the fat to add to 3 cups of the brandy. Pouring the liquor into a bottle I added the fat mixture and let it cool on the counter till it reached room temperature. After I gave it a little shake, much like making a vinaigrette. I stored it in the fridge for 2 days to infuse the smoky goodness into the brandy. Each day I gave it a gentle shake a few times to mix it up a bit. After the second day I strained the liquor through cheese cloth into a new bottle separating the fat and small bits of flavor from the brandy. Upon tasting the brandy I discovered it had picked up a richness and smoky flavor that was apparent on the nose and palate. I couldn’t wait to experiment with my new creation!

I like to make my simple syrup for sour mix which is soooo easy and much tastier than store-bought cocktail mix. For this cocktail I just used the most basic recipe which calls for 2 cups refined sugar to 1 cup water. Gently heat mixture till sugar dissolves and liquid is clear. This can be made in the 2 to 1 ratio and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Building my cocktail I added the following ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice-

1 oz simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. Bacon infused Brandy
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

After shaking briskly I strained my mixture into a chilled martini glass and topped it with Roederer Brut NV. You may use your favorite brand of Champagne or sparkling wine to top off your cocktail. I chose Roederer for its house style. Created with a blend of 60 % Chardonnay, 40 % Pinot Noir with the initial blend having a bit of oak treatment before second fermentation in steel it has a hint of nuttiness and fresh fruit flavors that complemented the other ingredients in my cocktail.

I served this at a special gathering of friends and family last weekend, everyone loved the unique twist on one of our favorite cocktails and asked if this could be a part of future celebrations! I’m sure I’ll make this again as it was really very tasty! I’m going to experiment with using the brandy for other recipes as well including a baked apple bread pudding. I’ll keep you posted for the results.

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