Bacon and Booze

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Josh Keppel
    Meet the "Bacontini," a cocktail that consists of bacon infused bourbon, garnished with bacon and orange rind, served as a shot, or in a martini glass.

    You know that universally depressing feeling of being in a bar when all-of-the-sudden, the music stops, the lights flick on, and you realize your time is up?

    Well, a similar scene played itself out a few weekends ago at Pop’s Bar on 24th Street in San Francisco, only it happened a few hours before it should have, around 11:45 p.m.

    Everyone was looking around like “WTF?” and then an announcement was made by the bar owner, “We have to turn the music off and bring the lights up for the film crew.”

    Word quickly spread that Olympic gold medalist, South Park character, and San Francisco resident Brian Boitano was coming into the bar to shoot a segment of his new reality TV show for the Food Network.

    Boitano’s production team was looking for subjects when they came across the Bay Area Derby Girls, our local flat track roller derby league.  He wanted to do a show with them but wasn’t sure how to incorporate food into the mix.

    Chesty Gillespie, number 34DD of the Oakland Outlaws (of which my wife, Deadly Nightshade, is a starting blocker), was asked if she had any ideas of how to do a segment for the show and she said that roller girls love bacon.  In fact, many of them, Gillespie included, have bacon tattoos!

    Since they love bacon, and of course booze, why not combine the two with the “absorbsi.”

    So here we are just after midnight and Chesty is behind the bar with bottles of Maker’s Mark that she’d infused with what she described as “awesome apple wood bacon” hours earlier by cooking up some bacon, straining the bacon fat through a napkin (to pick up any solid bits) into the bottle of booze where it sat for six hours or so.

    Others have submerged cooked strips of bacon in Vodka for hours to create the “Bacontini,” but Chesty says that bourbon is “better because it brings out the sweetness in the bacon and serves as a good component to bring out the bacon flavor.  Vodka absorbes to much of the charcoal smokiness flavor.”

    Word spreads through the bar that some sort of bacon cocktail is about to be served and to my surprise, people get really excited.

    Two couples sitting across the bar from Chesty are transfixed on her every move as she scoops out the bacon fat that has risen to the top of the bottle, straining the bourbon for consumption.

    All of a sudden, I see iphone typing: “Bacon martini @ Pop’s.”  I asked Regina Sinsky if she is twittering and she says, “Of course!”

    Next to her, Zach Hoon looked like he is in some sort of bacon Twilight Zone as the camera crew asks him and his girlfriend Anneh Hayes to vacate their seats so Mr. Boitano can sit in the pole position across from Gillespie.

    He looked at me with this dazed look and said, “I just had a bacon apple donut with maple glaze this morning at Dynamo Donuts,” which just happens to be a few doors down from Pop’s and right next to their house.

    I didn’t get to see if Hoon and Hayes stuck around for a taste of the concoction, but there was a lot of it going around the bar that night, served both in martini glasses, and as shots, all garnished with the previously infused strips of bacon and an orange rind.

    Boitano looked like a fan, enjoying multiple servings saying, “the smokiness of bacon goes with bourbon and with the orange peel, it’s great!”

    Some, like Lisa Adlao (cousin of All-Star travel team coach Garth Adlao), were a little more enthusiastic.

    “This drink has soul!  In this day of quick fix, this is a drink you cherish and share with the people you know and love as a celebration of life.  People are super lucky to receive this.”

    Just then, “CHEERS!” erupts from the crowd of roller derby girls surrounding Brian Boitano and his friend Gordon as everyone slams a shot of the bacontini with a follow up bite of the bacon.  The meat-eaters version of the tequila / lime combo.

    Others weren’t quite so excited about it, like Chica Mala number 1 Kilo on the Oakland Outlaws, who’d been with Chesty when she was massaging the recipe a few days earlier.

    When someone asked Mala how the drink was, she said, “They’re good.  Do you eat bacon?  You could’ve just had bacon.”

    True, but would Brian Boitano have brought his film crew just to watch a bunch of roller derby girls eat bacon? 

    To return the favor, and finish the taping of the show, Boitano invited the Oakland Outlaws to his house in the coming days to make them a multi-course meal of bacon inspired dishes.

    I’ve secured a fly-on-the-wall spot in the room to bring back the details, so keep your eyes peeled for that story in a week or two and be sure to check out my photo slideshow and see what happens when you drink too many bacontinis.

    Josh Keppel sampled some bacon peanut brittle the other day that was really tasty and now has built up the courage to try chocolate covered bacon, bacon apple pie with bacon ice cream and, most enticing, bacon baklava.