Aspen Times Weekly Libation: Winter Orchard Scotch
WINTER ORCHARD SCOTCH
1 1/2 ounces Scotch whisky
1 ounce ice cider (If you can’t find ice cider, substitute ice wine.)
1/2 ounce apple brandy
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a double old fashioned glass. Stir, then add an ice cube, if desired.
SLOW CANDIED BACON
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground mace
20 ounces thick-cut bacon
Heat the oven to 250 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, red pepper flakes and mace. Arrange the bacon in a single layer in the prepared baking sheet. The bacon can touch, but should not overlap. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the bacon, covering all the slices. Bake for 2 hours.
Allow the bacon to rest for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container between sheets of kitchen parchment or waxed paper.
What did you ring in the New Year with? Something fussy, bubbly or frilly? Next year (or really anytime), think about sipping something richer, smokier and deliciously darker. Start with a stiff pour of Scotch whisky. To dress it up for the occasion, spike it with ice cider, apple brandy and a splash of lemon juice. The result is a bold, lightly sweet indulgence that is just right to set a festive mood. To go with it, slowly candy some bacon. This is bacon so good it will haunt you. The process is slow, but effortless. The bacon also can be made ahead of time and kept at room temperature for three days (you are essentially making bacon jerky, so it won’t spoil). Just be sure to get thick-cut bacon. You want meaty and bold for this.
It was actually The Viking (my Yankee-in-Europe), not I, who had been invited to visit an historic whisky making business in the Scottish Highlands, namely the Glenfiddich Distillery located in Dufftown in Speyside.
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