Bourbon and Bacon. A match made in heaven, to be sure. If you’re on the same page, then Bourbon Steak (335 Powell Street) in San Francisco’s ever-bustling Union Square might just be your own personal Shangri-La. The master mixologists at Michael Mina’s signature steakhouse have concocted a special libation incorporating the robust, smoky tones of pig fat with the barrel-aged bombast of a wonderful whisky.
The aptly-named Kentucky Fat uses a special infusion of Bulleit bourbon—one of my personal favorites—combining it with unusual bedfellows: Goji berry liqueur, Antica Formula sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters doused in pure bacon fat. Let’s consider that last component for a moment. In order to lace the bitters with the smoky-goodness of cooked pig, the staff at Bourbon Steak steep the bitters in heated bacon fat and then wait for it to solidify. After, they simply scrape off the congealed lard, and voila: the precious gift of bitters, enhanced with a profoundly robust explosion of pork. If this process doesn’t sound like pure magic, clearly there is something seriously wrong with you, and I’m not sure that we can be friends.
One taste of this inventive cocktail, however, and I’m sure that you’ll be great friends. There is a layered complexity to the flavors, as the sweetness of orange zest, Goji, and vermouth crosses your palate before giving way to the deeper, darker intensity of bacon-laced bitters. The end result is a surprisingly well-balanced drink that has the general aura of a classic Manhattan, but arriving there through an unctuously alternative path.
The Kentucky Fat is on special for the month as part of a celebration in honor of National Hamburger Month. For the remainder of May, you can enjoy this unique, fat-speckled spirit with a trio of succulent sliders for just $20. Burgers, bacon, bourbon? I love this country.