Welllll…. Looks like we’ve been hit with another snowstorm, this one featuring a couple inches of ice, as some added bonus or something (oh joy, eyeroll), so even though it’s Monday morning, I believe a good stiff drink is in order.
If you follow any kind of food news and trend watching, you’ve for sure noticed that vintage cocktails are making a comeback. And this is one bit of trendiness I can get behind! Manhattans were not something I drank in my 20’s, but I do think I’ll spend a bit of my 30’s enjoying them. Especially, if they include bacon!!
As you can plainly see, these little libations are a bacon lover’s dream. Just as bacon can work wonders for a dessert, it can also give some glorious love to a cocktail. Manhattans have some alcohol bite to them – they are stiff – but the sweet-salty of the candied bacon balances it out perfectly. The bacon could be served alongside the drink or broken in two and nestled in the drink, like many more traditional drink garnishes. I preferred it this way, because then the cinnamon sugar that candied the bacon lightly flavors the drink; plus the saltiness of the bacon lightly flavors it as well. And the bacon softens just a tad, and when you bite into it you get bacon plus the drink flavors, and it reminded me of when you eat the fruit in sangria. Delicious!
Many may find the bacon unnecessary, but I thought it a very welcome addition. As in, the next time I’m served a Manhattan, my brain will likely automatically go, “wait, where’s the bacon?” Enjoy!
2 slices thick-cut bacon
6 oz. bourbon
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes angostura bitters
4 maraschino cherries
First, make the bacon. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place a nonstick cooling rack over top. Grease the cooling rack generously.
Lay the bacon slices on a plate or cutting board. Sprinkle each side liberally with brown sugar and conservatively with ground cinnamon. Pat the seasonings onto the bacon so everything sticks. Transfer the bacon strips to the cooling rack, spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake the bacon for about 30-35 minutes, flipping once halfway through the cooking time, until the bacon is crisped. Set aside to cool.
Now make the drinks. Fill 2 rocks glasses with ice. Add 3 oz. bourbon and ½ oz. vermouth, and 1 dash of bitters to each glass. Stir. Add 2 cherries to each glass and 1 slice of bacon served either alongside, or broken in half and nestled in the drink. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 drinks as written.