Serious Eats: Drinks
We Try Mama Walker's Breakfast-Inspired Booze
Life is all about compromise. At least that's what my ex-girlfriend told me before she took half my stuff and ran away to Florida with a jam band bassist named Constantine. My current girlfriend (who shares my hatred of jam bands) loves breakfast. Personally, I hate eggs and mornings so I generally save my first feeding until lunchtime, but in the spirit of compromise I sometimes find myself sitting down to brunch. Normally I handle situations I don't enjoy like most sane adults: with copious amounts of alcohol. But despite what you might assume about the guy who makes his surviving writing drinking games, I prefer not to drink (heavily) before noon. Since my brunch partner prefers her Bloody Marys in groups of 10, I also tend to find myself as the designated driver. A designation that seems odd, what with the sun shining and all.
So when Mama Walker's 'Homestyle Goodness' 3-pack showed up at my door, it was uncharted territory. I don't tend to seek out breakfast nor breakfast-flavored booze, but there we were with three new breakfast-flavored bottlings: Blueberry Pancake, Glazed Donut, and Maple Bacon, all 70 proof.
A brief disclaimer: all of these liqueurs are probably much too sweet for the average person, but since my go-to brunch is chocolate milk and chocolate-chip pancakes with maple syrup and butter, I'm probably under-selling just how sweet they are. Be forewarned.
Shall we get started? Blueberry Pancake is up first. It smells just like blue. Not blueberries, but blue, the same way that Dimetapp smells much more like purple than grape. The texture is that of a thin syrup, sticky but not quite thick enough to pour over pancakes. The blueberry flavor tastes just like a gummy blueberry fruit snack, doused in maple syrup. It's sweet to the point where I'm pretty sure I felt my pancreas shutting down.
The Glazed Donut, flavor, though, surprised us. While still too sweet for my taste, it was a vast improvement over the Blueberry Pancake. I would say the flavor is closer to cake frosting than a glazed donut, but when it comes to obesity-inspired cocktails, why quibble? While I'm not the guy to ask about mixed drinks for a Sex And The City viewing marathon (yet), I feel the Glazed Donut could easily replace any vanilla, whipped cream, or similarly-flavored vodka/liqueur if you were mixing sweet cocktails for that special occasion.
For dessert, we tried the Maple Bacon. I don't know about you, but I'm over this "let's make everything bacon-flavored" psychosis that seems to have a stranglehold on our country. I was disappointed by the Voodoo Maple Bacon Donut beer, so I had low expectations for the Maple Bacon. Well, I've only been wrong once before in my life (see above about my ex-girlfriend), but the Maple Bacon might well be instance numero two. I'd say this liqueur is flavored more like hammy Canadian bacon than American bacon, but I wouldn't cut a waitress' tip over a similar meat-mismatch on a solids breakfast, so I won't fault Mama Walker's. In fact, I'm impressed by how closely this mirrors the taste of maple-covered bacon. I was so impressed I actually mixed up one of the suggested cocktails on the back of this bottle ("Mama Said What": 1-part Irish whiskey, 2-parts Maple Bacon). I'm appalled that I wasn't appalled at the taste. The whiskey added a nice smokiness to maple and bacon flavors, and the cocktail pretty much worked.
I would never make a habit of adding flavors to my perfectly-fine-as-it-is whiskey, but as these life dilemmas go, Maple Bacon whiskey isn't a bad compromise.
About the Author: Vinny Mannering is a red-bearded raconteur with a penchant for sarcasm, ice hockey, and good beer. You can listen to him praise beer and loathe society on Twitter.