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10.15.11

Lights, Camera, Cocktails

The 'Footloose' reboot is missing some Bacon. Brody Brown delivers an authentic bacon martini to compensate.

A few years ago, on the U.K.’s Graham Norton Show, Kevin Bacon revealed that when he goes to weddings and bar mitzvahs, he feels compelled to go right up to the DJ and slip him $20 along with a request to not play the theme from Footloose.

He’s going to need more than 20 bucks this weekend if he doesn’t want the remake of Footloose in theaters.

Although the occasional remake can be as good as or even more popular than the original, there does exist an undeniable group of classics that are less easily re-envisioned. Often this hurdle exists because those films were the ones responsible for delivering certain actors into the arms of the moviegoing masses—what Clueless did for Alicia Silverstone and The Wizard of Oz for Judy Garland. If it’s not the actor's or actress’s first major film, it’s usually one toward the start of his or her career, when we really fell in love with them—unless, of course, you’re that elderly lady who chucked the necklace into the ocean at the end of Titanic.

Tom Cruise could make a dozen more Mission: Impossible movies before he kicks the bucket, but everyone who wasn’t in diapers in the '80s will always recall his turn as Maverick in Top Gun, or even before that, when he was pants-less, shaking it up in Risky Business.

For others, the movie in question is an award-winning highlight in his or her career, as Shakespeare in Love was for Gwyneth Paltrow, or as My Cousin Vinnie was for Marisa Tomei—although for the latter, the controversy surrounding the win left an even larger mark.

There can be a range of explanations for why a film would float to the top of the actor's or actress’s résumé.

Before Meg Ryan invoked our hostile disbelief for cheating on Dennis Quaid or made movies based on AOL catchphrases, she gave a hysterical, over-the-top performance in the throes of faux pleasure in When Harry Met Sally.

It’s been more than 15 years since the campy stripper-thriller Showgirls danced into theaters, but Elizabeth Berkley will always be reminded of the hours she spent on screen swearing, kicking, and stripping as Nomi Malone.

Perhaps it’s because most of the other movies she has starred in sound like they are named after perfumes found in a duty-free store, but Sharon Stone will always be remembered as the sex-hungry and murder-obsessed novelist of Basic Instinct.

But because Kevin Bacon and Footloose are so deeply bound in America’s memory, it should come as no surprise that those who go to see the new rendition this weekend might leave the theater feeling not entirely satisfied, even if the new version is supposed to be even better than the original.

Footloose without Bacon is like Thanksgiving without the turkey! Sesame Street without Big Bird! The Supremes without Diana Ross! The Spice Girls without Ginger Spice!

Thus, with Kevin Bacon absent from the new remake of Footloose, we’re experiencing a long, aching hunger for bacon, quite literally.

Our bacon fascination may have started when we didn’t spot Kevin Bacon’s mug in the Footloose trailer this summer. It was right around then that it seemed as if “Wilbur’s Nemesis” popped up on Michael’s cocktail menu in Santa Monica, touting mixologist Jason Robey’s blend of housemade Maker’s Mark Bacon Reduction, apple whiskey, rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters, as if it were placed there to tease us.

Only at the end of the summer did we bitterly realize we had blundered by failing to catch Cochon 555’s 13-date cross-country tour, and the chefs who carve up whole roasted heritage-breed pigs and dole out bacon- and pork-flavored treats to piggy epicureans in attendance.

Each week we miss out on brunch at New York’s Print Restaurant, we can almost feel our tastebuds watering—or is that weeping?—wondering when we’ll finally treat them to pastry chef Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez’s creatively glazed Maple Bacon Sticky Buns.

But long before it was trendy to soak bacon in bourbon or toss it into a rum milkshake, the Double Down Saloon in Vegas was serving a bacon martini that’s sure to satiate any bacon thirst you may be currently experiencing.

The Double Down Saloon is the kind of place Bacon’s rebellious Ren McCormack character would have appreciated, with its call to “shut up and drink” and warnings on signs that if “you puke, you clean.”

Double Down’s owner, P Moss, first experimented with the bacon martini in the mid-'80s. “It was a time when a lot of high-end restaurant bars were displaying large bottles of alcohol-infused fruit. It was a good idea, but I thought of carrying it a bit further and trying it with the world’s favorite food—bacon. But I did not own a bar then.”

He did open a bar in 1992, however, and according to P Moss, “in the mid-90s, my bartending staff (all food-crazy lunatics) collectively suggested that we needed to invent a bacon drink, to which I replied that I already had one.”

“Obviously a lot of places have copied the bacon martini, jazzed it up with a lot of extraneous ingredients, and claimed it as their own,” P Moss explains. But “well before the bacon craze, we were serving bacon martinis at the Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas,” serving the first in 1995, and of course offering them when the Double Down expanded and opened a location in New York years later.

The recipe for Double Down’s Bacon Martini is almost mind-bogglingly simple—why didn’t we think of that?—and because of the drink’s popularity and how easy it is to create, the fact that someone else would try to manufacture and mass-produce a bacon-flavored vodka isn’t entirely surprising.

But when making your P Moss’s Bacon Martini on your own, don’t think you need to get fancy about it. “Any brand of mid- to lower-end vodka can be used to make the bacon vodka,” says P Moss. “The higher-end brands such as Grey Goose are too smooth for proper absorption. And obviously no flavored vodkas. And very obviously, no phony chemical-flavored vodkas like Bakon.”

The Bacon Martini
Created by P Moss of Double Down Saloon

Vodka

3 strips of heavily hickory-smoked bacon
(Double Down gets theirs from Gatton Farms in Kentucky)

Fry the bacon until not quite crisp. Gently fold and massage the strips into a bottle of vodka. The bacon will stand tall and proud inside the bottle. Let it stand for 24 hours. By that time, the bacon will be limp on the bottom of the bottle, looking like it is raw. But it is not. It is ready.

Chill about six ounces of vodka in a shaker with ice, then strain into a martini glass.

P Moss also recommends using some of the remaining bacon vodka in a Bloody Mary.