We had Quite the holiday gathering on Sunday night celebrating the season with lot of friends, lots of music, lots of wine, and of course, lots of food…even a special cocktail inspired by the season. Gary’s beans, as always, were the hit of the night, but a slow simmered celeriac and cauliflower soup (with a few extra stalks of celery to really pump up that flavor) also pleased, as did a high heat braised beef stew and plethora of desserts and appetizers. More on those recipes soon, but first the ideal way to start any celebration, an apple ginger cocktail with sweet and savory bacon candy…yep…is there anything that can possibly be better? Not on this table. Inspired from a recipe I saw in Food and Wine, doctored just slightly, it was truly divine.
Sweet and Spicy Bacon Candy
12 slices of thick sliced applewood smoked bacon (it is the best, if applewood is not available find the highest quality bacon you can find since it is really the main ingredient in this delicious bite of love)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (the molasses in dark brown sugar adds an additional depth of flavor)
1 tablespoon ancho chile pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Lay the bacon slices on a foil lined baking sheet. Mix the sugar and spice together then generously coat each slice of bacon, pressing the mixture into each piece and distributing evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until very crispy and toasted, rotating the baking sheet once during cooking. Remove from the oven and using a pair of tongs carefully remove each slice and lay on a baking rack (on top of another baking sheet in case the pieces drip a bit) and let cool completely. They will crisp a bit more as they cool. Serve and enjoy. Wow!!!
Apple Ginger Cocktail
1/2 cup Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1 cup Calvados apple liqueur
1 cup vodka
2 cups apple cider
12 ounces ginger ale
16 ounces club soda
Juice of 1 lime and 1/4 orange
Fresh apple slices and mint leaves for serving
Pour everything into a large pitcher and stir. Serve with ice on the side so it doesn’t get watered down throughout your party. Garnish with slices of fresh apple and mint if desired.