Saturday, March 8, 2008
BLT in a glass
I like to think that I take a culinary approach to my cocktails. I've always been passionate about good food, and in my opinion, cocktails are just another type of cuisine, albeit a liquid one. One of my obsessions in life is bacon. Here in Portland, every chef in town seems to be trying to sneak it into their desserts. I wanted to try to incorporate its flavor into some cocktails. If you'll remember, I infused some everclear with bacon a couple of months back. I've got plenty of it laying around, and today I thought it was time to get to work on a BLT cocktail. I went to the basement and broke out the juicer, then walked to Whole Foods and bought a head of Green Leaf Lettuce and 2 slicer tomatoes. Now, not every cocktail that I make is succesful, sometimes I end up with something downright awful, but I'm always ok with that AS LONG AS I LEARN SOMETHING. Thats the key for me, experimenting and taking risks is ok, but I have to take something away from the experience.
I had assumed that lettuce, being 99% water, would juice down into little or nothing. I was ready to reduce my lettuce juice by 1/2 over some heat in order to concentrate the flavors. Boy was I wrong. Instead of a light watery juice which is what I expected, I got a dark green and heartily flavored juice. It was pleasant enough to drink by itself, and a real surprise to me.
The tomatoes juiced down quickly into a lightly foamy pink juice. Not much depth, but a nice tomato flavor to the juice anyway.
I then toasted some whole grain bread (Dave's Killer, good stuff) and began to chop it fine to use to rim the glass. It didn't hold terribly well, and if I retry this, I'll have to think about a better way to attach it to the glass because it did add a needed component to this cocktail.
Bear with me (I'm experiencing a HUGE nicotine buzz, see the next post, so I'm feeling a bit off as I write this). But I digress. It was cocktail time.
Since I was using everclear, I decided to only pour 1 1/4 oz rather than the 2oz I would have poured had it been bacon infused vodka.
Next, I added (this is in a shaker, fyi) 2 oz of lettuce juice, followed by 2oz of fresh tomato juice, I added some ice and shook the hell out of the drink before pouring it in a martini glass garnished with toasted breadcrumbs on the rim.
I tasted it and it was there. Its a BLT quite literally in a glass. Proportions are a little off at this point. The everclear makes this drink hot, and I'll redo it with vodka so that I can get more bacon flavor in the drink. I was surprised how assertive the lettuce had become. I had a BLT alright, but it was like eating a sandwich with triple lettuce, just not quite right. It was also a little bland, so I stirred in a pinch of sea salt and it brightened the cocktail right up,
Next time, I'll use half as much lettuce juice to tomato juice, but like an old bartender used to tell my about my experiments when I was a new bartender, "There's a cocktail in there".