January 5th, 2007

Bacon

[Vodka Infusion] Methodology

Continuing on the subject on my vodka infusion experiments, the next topic (as I told Travis) is a description of what materials I used to set up the infusion.

VODKA – I used Absolut vodka (plain, non-flavored) as the base for the bacon vodka, and Cîroc as the base for the garlic vodka. The Absolut was purchased specifically for the experiment (I had planned to start out making bacon vodka) and the Cîroc was already in my possession (the garlic vodka experiment was a spur-of-the-moment afterthought once I set up the bacon vodka experiment; since the Cîroc already tasted good by itself and was French, I felt that it would go well with the garlic). I have at least one other (partially consumed in my last batch of punch) bottle of vodka; but since that one is already flavored, it will not be used for infusion experiments. In their experiments, Brendan and Wayland are starting with extremely cheap, bad vodka (there's no such thing as a cheap, good vodka) and quintuple-distilling it through a Brita filter (as first demonstrated here). I don't know whether I'll be doing enough experimenting to justify getting myself another Brita filter and quintuple-distilling my own raw materials.

GLASS JARS – Because the jars are supposed to be airtight, I got some good mason jars from Michaels, and arts and crafts store (thanks to a suggestion from Q). I bought two (my original plan was to use one to infuse the bacon vodka, and then to filter it into the second for storage. Now I'll need something else to filter both batches into. FYI: I'll be using coffee filters to run the vodka through to remove the garlic and bacon ingredients.)

BACON – Rather than cook up bacon strips and drop them into the jar with the vodka, I decided to buy a jar of Hormel Bacon Bits. The variety I chose were made from real bacon (none of that imitation stuff), and had some advantages over bacon strips. First (in order of perceived importance to me), they were already shredded into small pieces, which provided far more surface area for contact with the vodka. Second, they had 50% less fat than standard bacon strips. Lastly, Q suggests that there are likely preservatives added to the bacon bits, which might be a good thing if I ever make a larger batch to give someone, which sits around for a while (in which case I'd also suggest storing it in the freezer, which is often good advice for vodka in any case). Depending on the results of this experiment, and assuming I want to make more bacon vodka in the future, I may decide to do it differently next time.

GARLIC – We love garlic in my household, and have quite a bit of it in powdered, minced, and possibly other forms as well. After I mixed up and sealed the bacon vodka experiment, I went to the kitchen to store the rest of the bacon bits in the refrigerator. When I did so, I saw the large jar of minced garlic therein, and immediately was struck with the idea of making a second experiment with garlic. At this time, I'm still uncertain as to which experiment (bacon vodka or garlic vodka) I am most looking forward to trying – I think the garlic vodka (and possibly the bacon vodka as well) would go best with a chaser of pizza for the taste tests. Depending on the results of this experiment, and assuming I want to make more garlic vodka in the future, I will definitely do it differently next time: I'll buy fresh garlic and dig out my garlic press (as with the bacon bits, to increase the interaction between the garlic and vodka). I may or may not do multiple experiments with raw garlic and garlic that has been prepared in one or more ways (as discussed with Travis).

Allah Sulu-South Park

[Vodka Infusion] Observations

I took down my two vodka infusion experiments last night to see how they were looking after 24 hours. The garlic vodka has definitely taken on a yellow hue, though is still clear otherwise. The bacon vodka's coloration has not changed as much, but it is less clear than the garlic experiment because of the oils from the bacon. I certainly hope that the bacon vodka has absorbed the flavor, and not just the greasiness, of the bacon; and that most of the latter comes out in the filtration process. In any event, they've both changed enough that I think it's justified to unseal them tonight for a taste test.