The Story Behind The Benton’s Old Fashioned
Tucked inside a Lower East Side hot dog stand lies Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy and birthplace of the legendary Benton’s Old Fashioned. A riff on the classic cocktail, this drink employs a novel technique to give it a distinctly rich taste.
The Benton’s Old Fashioned appeared somewhere around 2008, when bartender Don Lee first conceptualized the idea of infusing Benton’s bacon fat into bourbon. While PDT founder and fellow famed bartender Jim Meehan was initially skeptical of the drink, it soon became the bar’s most popular call.
PDT uses Four Roses yellow label, but the somewhat time-intensive fat washing preparation can be recreated with any quality bourbon and fresh Benton’s bacon. In an episode of Cocktail College, current PDT owner Jeff Bell advises cooking the meat slowly on low heat, stirring regularly and allowing the pork’s fat to crisp the meat. After removing from the heat, he strains the fat from the bacon. An ounce and a half of the liquid fat is added to 750-milliliters of bourbon and allowed to sit at room temperature for six hours. It’s later moved to the freezer until the fat solidifies. Then, he strains the fat through an extremely fine strainer, keeping the liquid ice-cold throughout the entire process.
Bottom line, this isn’t a cocktail to throw together for a last-minute soirée. But, like most cocktails of similar quality, it’s well worth the wait. The final product is a smooth, easy drinking Old Fashioned with rich flavor.
Fat-Washed Bacon Bourbon Ingredients
- 3 ounces Benton’s Bacon
- 750-milliliter bottle of bourbon
Fat-Washed Bacon Bourbon Directions
- Place the bacon in a pan on low heat, stirring occasionally until the fat begins to render and cook the bacon.
- Strain the bacon fat, removing any solid pieces.
- Add 1 ½ ounces of the fat to the bottle of bourbon. Allow the mixture to rest at room-temperature for 4-6 hours.
- Freeze until the fat rises to the top, and remove the solid fat.