How do you drink a man? You heard me. How do you find the gastronomic, alcoholic equivalents to a guy's personality, especially when the guy in question is Glorious Leader, Gizmodo Editor-In-Chief Joe Brown?
No, you can't simply mix one part piss, one part vinegar and call it a day. You have to go to the laboratory and do things that have never been done before. You have to go all Dr. Moreau and combine things that god never intended. And that's just what we've done. It's Einstein's lost equation: Meat + Whiskey = Love.
It's Friday afternoon, you've made it through the long week, and it's time for Happy Hour, Gizmodo's weekly booze column. A cocktail shaker full of innovation, science, and alcohol. Hail to the chief, let's get rowdy.
The JMFB isn't a traditional cocktail. It's a double-shot. A one-two punch, like a pickleback, but with way more kick and flavor. Part one: a (as far as we know) never-before-attempted rye whiskey infused with barbecued top-sirloin beef. Part two: a (definitely) never-before-attempted Manischewitz wine infused with habanero. Why? Let's break this down.
- Rye: It's brown. Joe Brown. See what we did there? Plus, Joe is a whisky guy.
- Beef: My man is a carnivore.
- Manischewitz: Joe is one of The Chosen. Woot.
- Habanero: Joe is a fiery mo-fo (which puts the MF in the JMFB)
- It's a strong one-two punch: Joe will kick your ass.
Oh, and today's his birthday. So everybody wish him happy birthday!
How we brought these elements together, though, took some serious alchemy. So, we tapped two geniuses of the drink world: Eben Freeman of the Altamira Group (and top-rate NYC cocktail bar Tailor), and Sother Teague of Booker & Dax, Amor y Amargo, and a million other places. Drawing on advice from those experts, we came up with this crazy ass procedure.
1. It all starts at the butcher's. For every 750ml of rye, use half a pound of top sirloin beef (you may want to experiment with fattier cuts). Have the butcher slice it extra thin into "minute steaks." (Photo credit: c. bay milin)
2. Throw the steaks on a charcoal grill. (We piled the coals with wet mesquite chips and it was smoky as hell. In retrospect, I might use a little less next time). They don't require much time over heat, but cook 'em all well, for health reasons. No pink—sorry blood-lovers. (Photo credit: c. bay milin)
3. Fill a gigantic jar with rye (we used Bulleit, because it's delicious), then slice the steak into strips to further increase surface area, and seal it up in the jar. Yes, all of it (this isn't just a fat wash). Let it soak for 36 hours, shaking it occasionally, then pull out the meat.
3b. I didn't want to just throw away all that beautiful beef, so I tried eating some. It was... okay, but I wouldn't recommend it. The rye kind of overwhelmed the beef. So I threw it onto my trusty Ronco Food Dehydrator and tried to make a salt-free jerky. It was very not good. Oh well.
4. Put the liquid into a freezer and let it get icy cold. This makes the fat in there congeal. Then pour it through a paper coffee filter into another container. The first time through you're going to use a lot of coffee filters. It will feel wasteful and wrong, but don't skimp. Once it's all gone through, freeze it again, and filter it again, just to be safe. It should be as clear as rye normally is.
That's it. The result still tastes like rye, but it has an unmistakably beefy middle, and a finish like BBQ smoke. You can sip it to explore the subtleties (and there are a lot them), or you can knock it back, like taking a big bite of steak. But if you really want to do it right, you've gotta follow with the wine chaser.
Manischewitz is that kosher wine that's almost absurdly sweet. If you're Jewish, it's probably the first thing you ever got drunk off of (yay Passover!). The hotness in this recipe cuts the sweetness, though, and it's actually amazingly good. It's also really easy.
1. Pour a large, 1.5 liter bottle of Manischewitz into a glass bowl. Just use the regular grape kind.
2. Take a fresh habanero pepper and cut it into quarters, discarding the seeds and stem. Put those four quarters into the bowl and let it soak, stirring occasionally. (Pro-tip: wash your hands very, very thoroughly after you do this or you will be extremely sorry next time you use the restroom or touch your eyes.)
3. It may take as little as half an hour, and because each pepper is different you have to go by taste. Start tasting at half an hour, then taste again every ten minutes. The two batches we made took 70 minutes to get to the right amount of heat. At one point I pushed the edge of a metal spoon into the peppers, crushing them slightly, which released a little more oil. You want it so that it goes down sweet, but the heat hits you as soon as you swallow it and lingers for a couple minutes.
4. Once the heat is dialed in, funnel it back into the bottle.
I recommend taking a sip or two of the rye, to explore it and check it out, then knock it back as a shot. Let that sink in for a couple moments, and then knock back the wine. In addition to the heat, you'll notice that the flavor of the meat comes back to you and suddenly it all opens up. It's not a drink, it's an adventure.
The JMFB made its debut last night at a very small Gizmodo Happy Hour party. We poured hundreds of them. It's amazing to watch peoples' faces as they go on this ride—there's a lot of surprise in the eyes. It was a bit exotic for some, but by and large people were all over it. (Back me up here, if you were there.) Most importantly, Joe Brown loved it. It's a drink experience like none other in the history of drinks. I'm now pondering what cocktails this beefy-rye would be good in. Hmmm...
Now go forth, spread the gospel, and check back next Friday for another Happy Hour.
Huge thanks again to Eben Freeman and Sother Teague for the sage-like wisdom.