Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Iiiit's Bacon!

It is finally time to revisit our attempt at creating a bacon infused vodka. This experiment, perhaps the most disturbing bacon concoction since the Vodka God's Super Pork Bacon Bomb, is in fact twofold; in order to increase our odds of discovering the perfect bacon infusion method, we are peer-reviewing a method found on the blog Brownie Points, as well as a method of our own devising.

The Brownie Points method, as described in our previous post on the topic, begins as a straightforward vodka infusion, with a two-stage filtration process to remove the excess fat tissue. We infused a fifth of vodka with three bacon slices, storing it in a science cupboard for three weeks. The second batch, intended to avoid entirely the greasiness that has ruined other bacon vodka experiments we've learned about, was created using artificial bacon bits. After the three weeks were over, the two vodkae looked like this:

Here is an overhead view of the real-bacon infusion, to show just how much fat had to be filtered out.

We began by straining both batches of vodka through cheesecloth into clean science jars. We then placed the jars into the freezer, which theoretically would solidify much of the remaining fats, allowing us to perform the second filtration stage.

After several days in the freezer, both jars had a visible layer of sediment at the bottom.

We strained each vodka again, this time using a coffee filter. As we have encountered before, the cold vodka flowed very slowly through the filter. Rather than hold it in place for long periods of time, we attached the coffee filter to the funnel using a few binder clips around the edges.

At this point, it was time to taste the vodka. We decided, for better or for worse, to taste the fake bacon infusion first. I took the first sample, and quickly spat it into the sink.

Though we usually avoid using artificial ingredients in our infusions, we had hoped that using artificial bacon might eliminate the residue that real bacon leaves, particularly in the Vodka God's attempt. However, I can only describe the results as an atrocity. From the very instant this substance made contact with my lips, I was overcome by revulsion. I was only able to process the very front end of this taste sensation, and had already spat it out before it really registered. If you can imagine extracting the almost-but-not-quite flavor of artificial bacon bits into a liquid form and drinking it straight up, with an uncut alcohol kick for good measure, you might imagine what this was like. Which is exactly what it was, brainiacs that we are. All in all, it was quite possibly the most horrifying experience I have been exposed to in the making of this blog.

As if reacting to what it was witnessing, my long-serving Powershot A70 camera chose this moment to drop stone dead. As a result, the rest of the photos (and probably for the next few posts, at least) were taken using Wayland's iPhone, so please excuse the lower image quality.

In spite of my reaction, Wayland dutifully drank his sample in the name of science. The second portion quickly rejoined the first.

"Ugh. That's salty and disgusting," Wayland wrote. "I don't think I'll ever burn that off of my taste buds as long as I live. The thing is, it does taste a lot like bacon bits. But without the crunch, you realize just how bad imitation bacon bits are. Without the crunch, they are horrible pieces of evil destined to destroy your taste buds."

It is interesting to note that while I have reacted poorly to several of our infusions, this is the first time that Wayland has ever had a spit-take with our infusions. He may not always like them, but he always at least gets them down. It seems that the man who once drank bottles of Cisco in college (and woke up fresh the next morning) has finally met his match.

In accordance with several international laws, we opted to rid the world of yet another potential weapon of mass destruction, and poured this vodka down the sink.

At this point, it was quite late, so we decided to postpone tasting the real bacon infusion for another night. The next morning, however, Wayland skipped town, putting thousands of miles between himself and this experiment, and did not return for a week. He claimed that he was on vacation, and had planned it months before. I knew the truth, though. It took the entire week just to clear that taste off of the palate.

Eventually, however, we knew we had to finish the evaluation. We had much higher hopes for the Brownie Points batch; after all, it had been tried before, apparently with decent results.

We poured two samples, raised our science glasses and... drank!

As we had hoped with all of our might, this batch was much better than the other. "It's a little rough on the front end," wrote Wayland, "but that's definitely bacon. It's salty, but not overwhelmingly bad-salty like the artificial bacon bits. I think it captures the bacon flavor quite well, although I admit it is a bit unsettling to drink bacon."

I believe I spoiled the test by taking the full shot Wayland handed me. (We normally do half shots for experimental sampling.) It was difficult to get down at first, but once I began to process the taste, I found it to be a fair representation of bacon. Indeed, there were instants where I found it quite tasty. This is certainly a vodka to be sipped in small doses, but I think it is quite successful.

So, there you have it. Sorry it took so long, Katherine! We're ready whenever you are.


zarhooie said...

I knew that bacon vodka would be a good idea.

I will, of course, be receiving a lovely sampler pack in the mail for my birthday, yes? *bats eyes*

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to finally see this review of the bacon vodka. I've been wanting to try it myself for the last few months but didn't dare do so until I actually saw a review of how it tasted.

You should try making a pear infusion. Out of about 16 infusions that I've done thus far, pear is BY FAR the best. No vodka burn or flavour at all. The way I did it was similar to your apple vodka with the sugar added and pear replaced a total of 3 times.

Plum vodka wasn't bad either.

Techempage said...

We've actually done pear, it just hasn't quite made it to our list of experiments yet.

Anonymous said...

I was positive that I had read a pear experiment before and thought that I was going crazy when I didn't see it on the experiments list. Now I'm glad to know that I'm not going insane.

Anonymous said...

I'm really happy to know this finally worked out for you guys. I started reading your blog back when you FIRST attempted bacon vodka, and have been looking forward to this ever since.

You have inspired me, if not to try bacon vodka, but that I should not be afraid to get out there and start experimenting with the booze I claim to enjoy so much. What've I got to lose except $12 worth of booze and a little time?

If I decide to blog it I'll plug you guys and send a link along.

In the meantime, as a breakfast cocktail, I wonder how this would taste in a bloody mary? There aren't too many cocktails enhanced by a smoke and salt flavor, sadly. Maybe a dash of this alongside the garlic and jalapeno in some clamato juice or V8?

Techempage said...

I'm not much of a tomato fan, so Brendan will have to do a solo sampling of the blood mary, like last time, if we go that route.

However, I have an idea for a coctail involving the bacon vodka that I think will be quite good. You'll just have to stay tuned to find out.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Canada and use Clamato juice rather than tomato juice for bloody mary's (it then becomes a ceasar) and I'm almost certain that bacon vodka would go excellent with it.

Maybe some bacon vodka with syrup to put on my pancakes and make a perfect breakfast meal.

Dude said...

I'd like to see some sort of maple-y cocktail made with this.

Anonymous said...

Maple? That's ingenious! I hadn't even thought of that. *facepalm*

I guess it comes down to whether the taste is more just smokey or actually has some meat flavor to it. If it's just salt and smoke, I'm not sure how it would be improved by the addition of a maple liqueur or even just plain jane maple syrup.

Anonymous said...

Have you guys tried fat washing? I could be drunk and not reading enough, but just in case, here's a good link:

Fat washing can be used with, like... anything fatty. It's kinda gross, but also fun in the right applications. What about bacon & marmalade demi-sec mimosas?! (Oh yes I did...)

Go molecular barstronomy!