There’s no fork and knife required to get your fill of meat these days. Bartenders are creatively working a plethora of protein packed components into their cocktails – from chorizo fat-washed bourbon and prosciutto-infused bourbon to pork enhanced bitters and a butchery’s worth of garnishes. Ron Swanson would approve heartily. Here are 11 meaty cocktails for carnivores.
Scarpetta, Miami Beach, Florida
Rum, rye, and dry sherry are the boozy foundation of the Lombardia. The cocktail is perked up with Angostura and orange bitters and then finished off with a strip of crispy pancetta. Make a reservation at Scarpetta.
Old Town Pour House, Chicago, Illinois
Here’s a cocktail worthy of a meat eater. The Churchill Bloody Mary is garnished with a trio of proteins: a peppercorn steak medallion, grilled shrimp, and a Slim Jim. You almost don’t need to bother with an entrée if you order it at brunch. Almost. Make a reservation at Old Town Pour House.
Steak & Whisky, Hermosa Beach, California
Ron Swanson finally has a cocktail to celebrate his meat-loving ways. The eponymous tipple riffs on an Old Fashioned, featuring whiskey, barrel-smoked maple syrup, and bitters. It’s finished off with a meaty nibble from the charcuterie board. Make a reservation at Steak & Whisky.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bacon makes everything better — even bourbon, which is pretty darn awesome anyway. It boosts this spicy Bloody Mary, which comes garnished with a chewy strip of housemade jerky. Make a reservation at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar.
Estrellón, Madison, Wisconsin
Chorizo takes a starring role at this Spanish restaurant from James Beard Award winner Tory Miller – even the cocktails. Chorizo fat-washed bourbon is the lead in the aptly titled Chorizo Cocktail, alongside Spanish vermouth, lemon and orange juice, maple syrup, and angostura and blackstrap bitters. Make a reservation at Estrellón.
Bar Boulud, New York, New York
Give us lardo over butter any day of the week. The whipped fat is zigzagged across a crispy crostini jutting out of the crimson depths of the Bloody Mary. The rosemary-accented porky spread is a nice counterpoint to the cocktail’s spicy tang and perky acidity. Make a reservation at Bar Boulud.
Spoonbar, Healdsburg, California
We’re instantly sold on any cocktail named the Divine Swine. Bacon-infused bitters add a porky punch to the mix of whiskey, maple pear puree, and lemon juice. As if that wasn’t enough, there a strip of crisped up bacon as an edible swizzle stick. Make a reservation at Spoonbar.
The Dutch, Miami Beach, Florida
Bacon lovers take note! The Smokey BBQ Old Fashioned is worth a flight down to Magic City. Bacon-infused Four Roses bourbon is the star here, alongside smoked maple syrup and Angostura bitters. Make a reservation at The Dutch.
Bub City, Chicago, Illinois
The weekend brunch features a beyond epic Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar, where diners can pile on the fixins. Options include oysters, shrimp, black-pepper bacon, salami sticks, and Trucker Snacks (saltine crackers topped with pimento cheese, bread and butter pickles, and a thick slice of Texas hot link sausage – 10-4!). Make a reservation at Bub City.
Baltaire, Los Angeles, California
Bacon-infused bourbon. Over the course of researching this article, we’ve learned it’s a thing. It’s the backbone of the J.W. Marshall cocktail, which is sweetened with rosemary sorghum syrup and tarted up with a little freshly squeezed lemon juice. Make a reservation at Baltaire.
Urban Farmer, Cleveland, Ohio
Apparently, prosciutto-infused bourbon is also a thing. We didn’t know we needed it until we knew it existed — and now we’re obsessed. Along with honey, maple syrup, Carpano Antica, and Angostura bitters, the cocktail is jar aged to round out its flavors. Make a reservation at Urban Farmer.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell.
Photo credit: Noah Fecks (The Dutch)