AUDIE CORNISH, Host:
We wanted to learn more about this carnivorous trend in mixology. So we headed over to Proof, a restaurant just a few blocks from our studios. There, we met up with bar manager Adam Bernbach, and he gave us a little lesson in the art of fat washing.
ADAM BERNBACH: Meat gives a cocktail a certain unique flavor that nothing else can give across. There is a comedy to it, I admit, but it's not so unnatural, in a way. If you can infuse the rind of an orange, why not bacon?
CORNISH: I think we definitely have to taste. All right. Bacon-infused scotch.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
CORNISH: Okay, you know what's really strange about that? You smell bacon going in, and then bacon kind of when you leave, it remains with you.
CORNISH: How did you do this?
BERNBACH: I really took the fat that was strained off of cooking bacon.
CORNISH: Which is the fat that we all get when we cook bacon at home. And usually, we put it in a little jar and put it, like, under the sink.
CORNISH: You're saying you do something else with that little jar from under the sink.
BERNBACH: It will look almost like the crema on espresso. You skim that off, and what you have is the flavor tones of bacon but none of the oil.
CORNISH: Lesson number two: the Jamesey's Breakfast Cocktail. Bernbach pulls out a shaker and pours a little bit of brown liquid from a plastic container - that's the bacon scotch - then he measures out the secret ingredient.
BERNBACH: I think we can all agree that a little bit of sweetness goes very well with bacon. I personally like a little bit of maple syrup on mine. But in this case, I'm going to go a little bit more barbecue-ey and go with molasses.
CORNISH: He portions out some lemon juice and then Gran Marnier. The result is a murky mix the color of caramel with a bright spiral of an orange rind perched on the edge of a martini glass.
BERNBACH: I think the key is integration. And this is for cocktails in general. If everything can be integrated in a well-balanced and interesting manner, then you got yourself a good cocktail.
CORNISH: Oh, my goodness. This is amazing. It's so strange. It really smells like a breakfast plate. Like, it smells like the bacon, and there's some fresh fruit on the side of the plate, and I don't know, waffles. I wish you had made one for yourself and then we could have a little toast.
BERNBACH: Oh, I still got the whole night ahead of me.
CORNISH: Oh, right. Right.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
CORNISH: Adam, thanks for showing me how it's done.
BERNBACH: Thank you very, very much for coming by and visiting.
CORNISH: And if you'd like to get Adam Bernbach's drink recipes like the Jamesey's Breakfast Cocktail or his Minito with Anchovy Tequila, head over to our website at npr.org.
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