I first started playing with the recipe at home for Sunday Football with friends. For games that were early in the day, we’d always have good maple syrup on hand for the pancakes to go along with bacon. I loved the flavor and thought it could make a great cocktail.
How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?
This drink is a bourbon-based cocktail cut with the sweet richness of maple syrup, with a hint of bacon on the finish.
What would be the key component in this drink?
Our candied bacons garnish tends to steal the show, but the bourbon is still the highlight of this cocktail. At Twenty/20 we hand selected Knob Creek Single Barrel #3084 for this cocktail. Its spicy notes and full body complements the rich bacon-infused maple syrup.
What's the process of infusing bacon with maple syrup?
We take maple syrup and mix it with the rich bacon drippings at a 2/1 ratio. Then we heat this and stir. We then let it cool and refrigerate until the grease has separated and solidified. We then remove the grease, leaving the bacon flavored maple syrup.
Do you offer any other house-made infused syrups?
Right now this is the only infused maple syrup, but we do infuse agave nectar and simple syrups for other craft cocktails we serve at Twenty/20.
What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?
We get the expected "wow" from whiskey drinkers, but the "bacon factor" attracts the non-whiskey drinker also, and those are fun too.
How were you able to get your name on Knob Creek Bourbon's label?
We were lucky enough to be selected for the single barrel program and I was invited to the Jim Beam distillery and rack house to taste the single barrels. Barrel 3084 stood out to me because of its complex layering and balance of sweet corn and spice.
What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?
This will pair well with most smoked meats, such as pork, lamb, or beef. The rich sweetness of the maple also makes it very versatile with acidic dishes and sauces. For those with a sweet tooth, it also pairs great with chocolate.
Watch as the beverage manager Stephen George make this sweet, bacon-infused maple syrup cocktail.
What kind of experience can someone get at Twenty/20?
Great food, great cocktails and amazing views and sunsets over the Pacific Ocean from our terrace.
About Stephen George
Did you grow up in San Diego?
I'm originally from Pittsburgh PA, but mainly grew up in Redding, CA.
How long have you been in San Diego?
I've lived in San Diego for over 15 years now.
How did you get into bartending?
I started bartending through school and fell in love with the industry. It's always changing and evolving, which means it keeps you on your toes.
What's the thought process when coming up with a new cocktail?
It’s always a balance of personal preference with industry and seasonal trends. Our kitchen and chefs are great resources when putting together cocktail ideas and themes. Balancing a cocktail’s sugar, acid, bitter, and savory flavors means you ultimately create something that will make you want a second.
When you’re not mixing drinks, what are you doing on your spare time?
I’m usually spending time with my amazing wife Jina and our two year old son Asher. I also enjoy cooking and grilling with my wife and entertaining friends and family at the house. You can also find me watching baseball, football and dodging chores around the house.
Twenty/20 Sheraton Carlsbad Resort, 5480 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad. (760) 827-2500 or twenty20grill.com