This is a book I have had on my shelf for several years, yet I have never reviewed it. Somehow it was pushed into a dark corner of the shelving and forgotten. That should never have happened as it is an excellent book. It contains both cocktail and food recipes that are worth reading and using at a dinner party. It is time I rectified my neglect.
Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South’s Favorite Food Groups, Morgan Murphy, New York, NY: Time Home Entertainment, Inc., 2014, Contents, Preface, Forward, Index, Illustrations, 287 pp.
Bourbon & Bacon is published by Southern Living Magazine. Like the magazine, there are plenty of recipes for dishes and cocktails based upon America’s southern culture. Julian Van Winkle III wrote a brief forward for the book that does a good job summing up the book. He wrote “…Morgan believes (as I do) that the better the Bourbon, the better the cocktail! Oh, and who doesn’t love bacon?” An excellent introduction to an excellent book.
The book is divided into two parts: Part 1: Bourbon, Part 2: Bacon. Each part has five chapters. Part 1, “Bourbon”, has “In the Barrel” that discusses some Bourbon basics such as how it is made. Next is “By the Glass” with many classic cocktail recipes as well as a few new recipes. The third chapter, “By the Pitcher” has recipes for punches and other cocktails that can be made in a large quantity to serve at a party. The fourth chapter is “By the Jar” with recipes for every course for a dinner except dessert. That is saved for the final chapter in Part 1 – “For Dessert”. Part 2, “Bacon”, starts with a chapter called “The Wonder Meat”. This chapter gives some history of bacon and how it is produced. The next four chapters are: “Party Starters”, “Bacon Sides”, “Bacon Mains” and “Pig Candy”. These chapters have recipes for appetizers, side dishes, main courses and desserts, all containing bacon and sometimes Bourbon.
The book is well designed and well written. The index makes finding recipes a breeze. It is full of color photographs of the cocktails and dishes, including some random photographs from places in the south relating to bacon or Bourbon. The recipes are well organized and easy to follow. The recipes have the author’s favorite Bourbon to use in the cocktail or dish in Part 1 of the book. I was disappointed that he did not do the same in Part 2. He does have a page discussing some of his favorite producers of bacon, but never offers an opinion on which works best in a particular dish, as he does with the Part 1 recipes featuring Bourbon.
This book is well written and fun to read. It has many excellent recipes for both cocktails and food. It is an excellent book to add to a whiskey library. It will satisfy both the chef and mixologist.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller