Over the past few weeks, we’ve cataloged the city’s best bacon dishes and best bacon desserts. We conclude this bacon-focused series not with a trip to the cardiologist but with a look at New York’s best bacon cocktails. If you can’t get enough of bacon mixed with alcohol, Betty Crocker has a recipe for bacon-infused vodka. Yes, really. By Jessica Allen.
Newly opened Barley & Grain, on the Upper West Side, offers thirsty folks more than 100 types of whiskey, among other spirits, and more than 10 craft beers (the choices rotate). The bacon Manhattan includes actual bacon fat, lending the cocktail a slightly smoky, rather buttery flavor. The barley, grain, and bacon theme continues through the menu, which includes a rib eye with a bourbon demi-glace, a Wagyu burger on a pretzel bun, bacon mac and cheese, and a salad made with kohlrabi, mango, and quinoa.
The Double Down Saloon began in Las Vegas in 1992. Like the original, the East Village version specializes in “ass juice,” a wicked brew of secret ingredients that tastes kind of like a Hurricane and kind of like camp juice, but it also makes an equally famous bacon martini, using bacon-infused vodka. (You can also order a straight up shot or get this vodka in a bloody mary.) This come-as-you-are, anything-goes, total dive bar has one rule and one rule only: “you puke, you clean.”
This warm little establishment in Park Slope, owned and operated by childhood friends, specializes in cocktails, comfort food, and barbecue. Its “bobbito burns” mixes Averna, Bénédictine, mezcal, and bitters made from meat, including bacon, while the “fall fashioned” combines apples, bourbon, bitters, and “house-brandied” cherry. Its comfort food includes biscuits, cornbread, and collard greens. And its barbecue ranges from pulled pork to St. Louis-style ribs to “fatty brisket.”
“Recette” means “recipe” in French. At this West Village restaurant, the recipes might begin in the French tradition, but then they get tweaked, updated, and refined, usually through a seasonal American lens. At the bar, the bacon old-fashioned combines brown sugar, brandy, bourbon, club soda, cherries, and ice with a secret ingredient: bacon bitters. Sadly, it’s not always available. But good service, an elegant table setting, and excellent food at brunch and dinner definitely are.
Those lucky enough to score a seat at Cookshop for brunch can try the BLT Mary. The kitchen and bartenders at this seasonal, incredibly popular, New American restaurant in Chelsea combine talents on this drink: house-made bloody mary mix, a slice of Applewood bacon, lettuce, and vodka that’s been infused with bacon on site. It offers sip after sip of salty, spicy carnivorousness. Follow that with a cherry-ginger limeade or a Jersey peach margarita, and your Sunday is pretty much set.