Friday, April 11, 2014

Pretzel Necklaces

Tomorrow is the first beer tasting event of the year (here at least) and I'm excited to wear some pretzels around my neck.

"What!?" you exclaim, doing a spit-take I imagine.

Yes, pretzel necklaces are what I'm talking about. I remember seeing them at my very first beer event and thought it was kinda weird but original of my friends. Once inside, I saw quite a few other people sporting them. It's apparently somewhat common. Hell, the concession stand sold a kit for them. By the way, those kits are terribad. Usually it's a bunch of regular pretzels and a string, but just super overpriced. All assembly required. Might as well make it yourself and get to customize it.

I use shoelaces, as the aglet (that hard end-piece that allows you to lace your shoes) makes threading the pretzels go much quicker. You can pick up a pair of laces for around a buck and then you'll have two necklaces waiting to happen.

The best part of making your own necklace is you get to pick what goes on it. I made a sweet giant pretzel necklace last year. I've seen Funyun necklaces, which I'm planning to do this year. Hell, one guy strung up some bagels, but that seems a bit much to me. If you're willing to possibly stab yourself with a needle, you could thread floss through Cheez-its or peanuts in their shells. Maybe I'll try that next year.

So wear your food. Eat your clothing. Enjoy many small glasses of beer.

And about those tasters: it's hard to keep track of all the beers in the day. I like to take pictures of the labels/signs/whatever for beers I really like. It's too much work for me to pull out a pen and pad of paper after the sixth taster. It's much easier to pull out my phone, snap a picture, and move on.

And if you're going to a beer festival or the like, be sure to wear sunscreen, drink water, and eat definitely before, probably during, and maybe after. Also, cab it or have a DD.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bacon Bourbon

Do you like bacon? Of course you do. This is the internet. How about bourbon? Hopefully. And even if you don't, maybe you'll be intrigued enough to try this anyway.

What you'll need: Bacon, 750 mL bourbon, another container that will hold 750 mL (might I suggest a second, empty bourbon bottle), a glass measuring cup with spout.

Cook up the bacon. Save the fat; you'll need 2-3 ounces (1/4-3/8 of a cup). Let the fat cool a bit and then add it to the second bourbon bottle. Add as much of the first bottle as will comfortably fit into the second bottle. Make yourself a cocktail or something with the remaining bourbon before tomorrow, and save the bottle. Cap the bourbon/fat mixture and leave at room temperature for 4 hours. Place the bottle in the freezer on its side, freeze overnight. The bacon fat will harden into a slab on top of the bourbon, and the spout will remain useable. The next day, transfer the contents of frozen bottle to the empty bottle. You can strain it if you'd like, but I don't bother.

You can drink it neat, at room temperature (but you should store it in the fridge when you're not drinking it, just in case). It's also quite nice mixed with root beer.

My impetus to first making this was a vodka and grilled cheese party a couple of years ago. The idea was that everyone bring an infused vodka and there would be bread and cheese provided as well as many pans so we could eat grilled cheese sandwiches. I heartily endorse such ideas.

I made a jalapeño, lime, and mint infused vodka (wash and cut jalapeño lengthwise, put it in for a week; bruise the mint, put it in for last 24 hours; squeeze the juice of a lime into bottle and give a good shake before serving) but wanted to try bacon. My friend Nate was already going to make bacon vodka (sub vodka for the bourbon, otherwise it's the same; makes a great Bloody Mary) so I decided to try infusing bourbon instead. I'd read about it, but was still a little wary. So glad I pushed through.

Other meat fats could be used, I'm sure. I've seen a venison whisky recipe. I do have a tub of duck fat at home...