You Need to Try the Smoked Bacon Old Fashioned at Gastown’s Wildebeest

You Need To Try This is a running archive of all the awesome drinks and dishes we’ve come across over the course of our professional and private lives (or at least the ones we had the presence of mind and patience to photograph before they got in our bellies).

These days, you can generally walk into any restaurant with a semi-descent bar program and they should be able to make you an Old Fashioned. Some bars even offer a couple of riffs on the classic bourbon sipper. The combination of three basic ingredients – bourbon, sugar and Angostura bitters – makes for a relatively easy drink to put together. However, its complexity and the importance of its balance can’t be understated.

If you’re a die-hard Old Fashioned lover, things can get really exciting when you find a bar that offers not just the classic and not just one or two riffs, but also an entire Old Fashioned menu dedicated to this ubiquitous cocktail. Such is the case at Wildebeest, where the bar team has put together a selection of nine different variations including rum, gin and tequila based-variations.

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Arguably the most intriguing of the bunch is a bacon-washed Old Fashioned. It truly makes for a unique and smoky take on the original. The bacon is smoked in-house and the fat is combined with the bourbon. The fat is then separated out once chilled leaving behind a delightfully rich and smoky base spirit. Once stirred over ice, however, the smokiness is perfectly subtle and doesn’t overwhelm or jeopardize the simplicity of the drink. It’s definitely worth checking out the next time you’re in the neighbourhood!

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