• Christopher Bronke

Drinks of the Week: Wk5 - Ballin' w Bourbon (and bacon)

This is your weekly public service announcement: fantasy football is a game, and games are supposed to be FUN! Don’t EVER forget that.

Week four made your Sunday a bit sexier, and I hope you enjoyed some high-quality time with your significant other as you indulged in elegance. You can read more about those drinks and the food pairings for each here, and you can follow my food/wine/beverage Twitter space @ChristopherB070.

Recently, someone who reads the column asked me if I create these cocktails myself, (develop the recipes) and the answer is YES!!! There will be times, like last week’s choice of the French 75, where my suggestion is a classic cocktail that has been around for generations; however, I will ALWAYS note that. So, if there is no note about that, then the answer is yes, I was the one to develop the recipe for that cocktail. So, with that said, let’s look at what week five has in store.

Bourbon is boss right now with bourbon bars bouncing up all around the country. So, as the weather starts to turn around the country and October is upon us, I begin to think about drinks that are a bit heartier, that can give us that nice warm-up when needed and nothing does that quite like bourbon. So, this week’s theme is Balling with Bourbon (and bacon)!

**Always remember, these drinks are listed in a suggested order of drinking in the event you plan on trying all three.

Week 5 Theme: Balling with Bourbon (and bacon)

Beer of the Week: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

There really is no way to slow-start a Sunday based around Bourbon, so let’s not try. This ale is aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels and comes to you at a robust 8.2% abv. In other words, LET’S GO!

Despite its big abv., it is surprisingly smooth with notes of toasted vanilla and a subtle char from the barrels...and yes, even a touch of bourbon flavor. This is a fantastic way to kick off Sunday Funday, and it is even more badass if you pair it up with the food suggestions below--especially the spicy poppers.

Suggested food pairings: bacon-wrapped Jalapeno poppers, bacon-wrapped cocktail weenies in a brown sugar & bourbon sauce.

Cocktail of the Week: The Chocolate-Covered Orange Peel

The Old Fashioned is about as classic as a cocktail can be: booze, bitters, sugar, and I couldn’t do a Drinks of the Week featuring bourbon without this classy friend. But this week I present my riff on this sultry standard. I like cocktails with great depth of flavor, where each sip could taste differently depending on where it hits your tongue and how your feeling. And the additions to the Old Fashioned here present just that. It’s really pretty simple, too; I just use different bitters to add depth to the sipping experience.

2.5 oz Bourbon (I prefer using Basil Hayden or Bulleit)

2-3 teaspoons simple syrup

3 dashes of Angostura bitters

3 dashes of orange bitters

3 dashes of chocolate bitters (this is where the magic happens)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail mixing glass, add ice, and stir 10-15 times

Strain into a rocks glass and sip as is OR add a giant ice cube if you like a bit more chill and dilution.

Garnish with an orange peel and a Luxardo cherry.

Suggested food pairings: I am not even going to get fancy here. You had some hearty appetizers with your beer, so now prepare yourself 3 pounds of thick-sliced bacon: one pound with brown sugar and cayenne, one pound with black pepper, and one with maple syrup. Just enjoy the beauty that is bacon and bourbon.

Wine of the Week: 2017 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet

Bourbon and wine??? You got it! This red blend is mostly Cab with some Petite Sirah, Malbec, and Petit Verdot all from Monterey County, California. After 10 months in oak barrels, it spends 3 months in bourbon barrels, and if I am being honest, it creates a big bold wine--the perfect way to end the evening. The primary fruits are dark blackberries and dark cherry and that is balanced with big notes and flavors of vanilla. It’s in your face, and I love it, and it is why it is dessert for tonight.

Suggested food pairings: Bacon bits (but like real bacon bits--ideally you have some left from “dinner”) and caramel corn popcorn.

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