I had all the ingredients for my vodka infusions. One pound of bacon, eight ounces of a Spanish blue cheese and one bottle of 80 proof Boyd and Blair potato vodka. I found two Mason jars in which to infuse my vodka, one for blue cheese, the other for bacon. I put my cast iron skillet on the stovetop and turned on the heat. There were plenty of Melitta type coffee filters to go with the Melitta pour over cone. I was set to infuse.
I fried half the bacon strips until they were crisp and most of the fat rendered off. The frying bacon filled the house with its sultry smokey aroma. Everyone had their noses in the air. With several requests and two pairs of sad eyes, I relinquished that ration of rendered rasher to my salivating spouse and son for some snacking of Stilton and sourdough. (Phew! I can't believe I just wrote that.) I put the remaining uncooked bacon into the pan and started over. When fried, I placed the newly crisped bacon on a double layer of paper towels, covered the bacon with another double layer of paper towels and applied pressure with the palm of my hand. I wanted to remove from the bacon as much of the grease as possible. When the bacon was dry, I was ready to begin the infusions.
Into each Mason jar I poured half of the vodka. I put about two ounces of the Spanish blue cheese in the one jar and all of the remaining bacon in the other jar. I turned on the lids and shook each jar. I repeated shaking each jar once per day for three days. On the fourth day I was ready to filter the infused vodkas.
I placed a Melitta type paper filter into the Melitta pour over cone, as I would to filter my drip coffee. The filtering device was placed atop a clean glass tumbler, a tumbler with a wide enough rim to stabilize the filtering device. I didn't want to loose any infusion because the cone tilted or fell off the top of the glass. Now I was ready to filter.
I started with the blue cheese infusion. I poured the blue cheese-vodka solution into the filter. Quite a bit of the cheese had dissolved into the vodka. This solution all but stopped the filtering process with just a few ounces in the filter. I rocked, jiggled, tapped and lifted the filter to try and get the flow started again. No luck, the filter was clogged. I grabbed each side of the paper filter until all four sides were gathered together over the center of the cone. I lifted the clogged filter trying to keep the vodka from spilling. With the agility of a prestidigitator, I had the old filter out, the new filter in and the unfiltered vodka poured into the new filter without loosing a drop of the precious liquid. I scraped all of the cheese from inside the filter onto a plate. I then squeezed the clogged filter to save every possible drop of vodka. I must have repeated the above procedure at least four times until the liquid ran freely through the paper filter.
The bacon infused vodka was not as difficult to filter. The bacon didn't breakdown into fine particles as did the cheese. Once both solutions were filtered I had two glass tumblers of infused vodka on my kitchen counter. One was cloudy with a white overcast, the other a transparent amber color. I transfered the two liquids into two clean plastic Snapple Iced Tea bottles. I chose plastic bottles because plastic won't break if it freezes. With the lids snug, I placed both of the bottles into my freezer.
I saved the vodka infused bacon and blue cheese for future uses in recipes: recipes that will include debauched bacon, possibly a dip, and Bacchic blue cheese, probably a spread. I couldn't see myself discarding either of them. I placed each into its own container, then into the refrigerator.
I expected the vodka infusions to separate in the freezer. I regularly place fried ground beef into the freezer where the fat solidifies, rises to the top and is easily skimmed off. But my expectations were unfounded. It seems that alcohol is lighter, less dense, than bacon grease. Therefore, the alcohol rose to the top leaving the little bit of grease on the bottom of the bottle. I guess I could have figured a way to remove the grease, like with a grave pitcher. But I don't own such a pitcher and being a little impatient, I figured that little bit of grease would be OK and left it in the bottle.
Before I started this project, I told several friends that I was infusing vodka with bacon. Two of them were intrigued with the idea of bacon in vodka, but repulsed by the sound of blue cheese in vodka. We planned to the Friday before Christmas, just to spread some cheer. What could be cheerier than bacon infused vodka? I planned to bring the infusions to our meeting. I hadn't tasted either of the infusions. Together, we would try them on Friday.
©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved