So a guy walks into a bar, asks the bartender for a drink. The bartender responds: chicken, pork, or fish? Seems like an implausible scenario or beginning of a joke, right? It's neither.
Distillers are now using meats and fish as a way to flavor their spirits. It seems every conceivable cut and creature is now available to sip.
Two new brands, Alaska Distillery's Salmon Vodka and Black Rock Spirits' Bakon Vodka, are touting their carnivorous ingredients. Is this crass consumerism or simply an inevitable extension of the wide range of flavored spirits? Either way, the use of meat in drinks dates back to the 16th century and possibly before. Cock ale, a beer brewed with a rooster, is just one example. Another is ambergris, an excretion of sperm whales that appears in old punch recipes.
One meaty spirit that has a following among bartenders is Del Maguey's Pechuga Mezcal, flavored with fruits and then distilled through a chicken breast. Ron Cooper, the owner of Del Maguey Mezcal, claims that "pechuga" was around before the 1950s and was once made with goat. The chicken version is particularly enticing, with a smoky-barbeque complexity.
For craft bartenders, using a protein in drinks can do just that: add complexity. Therefore, some bartenders are choosing to do it themselves. PDT in New York is well know for their Bacon Old Fashioned, using bacon-infused bourbon, and many other bartenders have tried their hand at porcine infusions.