Serious Eats: Drinks
How to Make Bacon Swizzle Sticks
This is one of my many mottos: Everyone likes a cocktail that's also a snack. I try to live by that, adding extra olives or a cucumber wedge to a drink when it isn't totally insane to do so. And since another of my mottos is "It's probably better with bacon," I'm obsessed with the garnish/tool/snack that is the bacon swizzle stick. Why would I stir my drinks with a piece of plastic or wood when a piece of bacon can do the job?
Instead of frying up your bacon, you'll wrap it around skewers and bake it in the oven. This not only frees you up to mix drinks while the bacon cooks, but it also shapes the bacon into a pretty spiral.
Bacon swizzle sticks add a little meaty, smoky flavor to your cocktail, and they're sturdy enough to stir a drink with if you use a nice, thick cut of bacon. And, hey, if a piece breaks, you can always use it as salad crumbles (or just eat it on the spot).
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The most inspired use for a bacon swizzle stick is the most garnishable cocktail of them all, the Bloody Mary (or variations like the Balsamic Bloody Mary or Kale Mary). But really any drink that is served on the rocks and would benefit from a little bacon flavor can make use of a bacon swizzle stick—whether it's a spicy drink like a Michelada, a vegetal cocktail like the Beet Generation, or a savory cocktail like the Pumpernickel Highball.
You could also turn a Rye Maple Fizz, made with maple syrup and egg whites, into brunch-in-a-glass by adding bacon. If you're feeling adventurous, the smoky Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate with mezcal sounds like it's crying out for a bacon companion.
And bacon swizzle sticks aren't just for alcoholic drinks. Aside from Virgin Bloody Marys, they're also perfect for veggie juice concoctions, chocolate milk shakes, and anything spicy.
About the Author: Marcia Simmons is the co-author of DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks. She also shares cocktail recipes and tips on the DIY Cocktails blog and on Twitter @DIYCocktails.