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A Cocktail to Toast Dad

Two words: Bacon. Bourbon.

These are the primary ingredients in the Horton Hog Bloody Mary, from The Abbey in Hollywood, one of 10 recipes in Paul Abercrombie’s ecookbook, “Sublime Bloody Marys.”

I would never have put them together, much less in the way they are combined, but thankfully someone had a lot more ingenuity than me. They rock it together and I can’t think of a better combo for Father’s Day.

Ironically, my dad was a Ramos Fizz kind of guy. But I love bourbon. Actually, I love Maker’s Mark bourbon—I’m a proud card-carrying ambassador (thanks Jock for the tip!). If my dad were here I’d make both drinks, but he’s not so I’ll make Hortons for Jack and I and we’ll toast our fathers on Sunday.

The Horton calls for a strip of bacon as garnish, but when I make these I steal the garnish from another recipe in the book and make a bacon-sugar crumble for the glass edge.

Horton Hog Bloody Mary
Bacon-Infused Bourbon
1/4 pound bacon
1 cup bourbon

Put the bacon in a frying pan large enough to hold all of the slices in a single layer. Cook on medium-low until the bacon is crisp and all the fat has been released, about 10 minutes. Let the bacon drippings cool slightly.

Transfer the bacon to a cooling rack set over a plate and save for garnish.

Pour the bacon drippings into a glass container or fat separator, and add the bourbon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When the fat has solidified, remove it from the top of the bourbon and discard it. Strain the bourbon through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter or paper towel.

Transfer the bourbon to a clean container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Store the bacon flat in the refrigerator for up to two days to use for garnish. (Alternatively, arrange uncooked bacon on a baking sheet, slather with barbecue sauce and coarsely ground black pepper and bake on 350°F until crispy, about 15 minutes.)

For one serving

4 ounces tomato juice
3 ounces bacon-infused bourbon
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or prepared horseradish
3 dashes of Tabasco Sauce
2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker, plus a heaping handful of ice cubes. Shake vigorously and strain into an ice cube-filled Collins glass. Garnish with a piece of cooked bacon.

Alternative Garnish:
Candied-Bacon Crumble
Yields about 2 tablespoons

2 pieces crispy cooked bacon, chilled
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Put the bacon in a coffee or spice grinder. Pulse until the bacon is fine crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse one or twice to combine. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. (A word of caution: warm or room temperature bacon won’t stick well to the glass.)

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