Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I've been somewhat skeptical of this bacon cocktail craze, but recently I found myself at Osteria via Stato (located at 620 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610), home of the famous baconcello, and of course I had to try it.

The baconcello is made with a granny smith apple and bacon infused vodka, mixed with fresh lemon juice and maple syrup. And I tell you what - it's effin' delicious.

Although online reviews claim that it features an extravagant garnish (some claim it's a crispy bacon wheel, others that it's a bacon swizzle stick), mine arrived rather bare, a pale yellow liquid in a small glass receptacle that was actually somewhat disappointingly plain. I'm generally a whiskey drinker, so I don't really expect anything fancy, but this glass seemed a bit too froofy to be so plain. If you're going for a straight drink sort of look, serve it in a more robust looking glass, eh? 

But any sense of dismay over presentation is quickly allayed by the drink's heavenly odor, which is distinctly bacon-y. The flavor is marvelous, a strong, but not overwhelming, bacon taste that's well complemented by the hint of apple. The lemon juice and maple syrup combine beautifully for a robust briskness that is neither too sweet nor too tart, and off-sets the saltiness of the bacon quite well. A rich and almost creamy texture make the drink a real pleasure. Highly recommended.

(If you're curious, the food at Osteria was good, but not incredible. We went for the Italian Dinner option, where everyone picks an entree and the shares various appetizers, with the caveat that anything you like, they'll bring more of. The appetizers were mostly lovely - the parmesan encrusted onions were especially tasty - and the entrees were good though not incredible. The weakest link, to me, was the pasta course, which was nice but rather bland, as was the veal meatball appetizer. All in all, it seemed to me that the food was good but not quite as complex, in terms of flavor, as I might have hoped, especially at the price.)

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