We’ll be mixing an Old Fashioned cocktail today in honor of National Tater Tot Day. You already knew that, of course, but perhaps you needed a reminder to stock up. And don’t forget the bacon while you’re at it as we’ll employ bacon as we mix a cocktail for National Tater Tot Day.
Tater Tots were invented in 1953 by F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg, the founders of the Ore-Ida frozen potato foods company named after, you guessed it, Oregon and Idaho – the epicenter of American spud production. Back in 1953 the Grigg brothers were trying to figure out what to do with leftover potato shreds after they cut French fries. So they chopped up the shreds, added flour and seasoning, pushed the mash through holes in a die and cut off extruded pieces. Tater Tots were born and after some machinery development hit store freezers in 1956.
Tater Tots were originally very inexpensive, and it seems people did not buy them because there was no perceived value. So Ore Ida raised the price, people began buying them and those little cylinders of potato goodness became the star of the frozen vegetable aisle. Today approximately 70 million pounds of Tater Tots are consumed each year in the US. That’s about 3.7 billion little pillows of potato joy, or just a bit over 11 per capita in case you were wondering. No wonder there’s a Tater Tot Festival in Ontario, Oregon.
Whether deep fried, roasted or (best yet) tossed into your waffle iron and smashed into a slab of crispy goodness Tater Tots are comfort food, a true star component of your processed food diet. You all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and our Editorial Board wants you prepared for the occasion.
And by prepared we’re not talking about having a breakfast of fruit and grains. No indeed. You’ll need Tater Tots and bacon, critical for the Drink of the Day. The fact that in one meal you probably won’t be able to consume as many cocktails as there are Tater Tots in a package leaves the solid-food breakfast component as a side benefit.
The Old Fashioned Cocktail
So for National Tater Tot Day we are naming a bacon-fat washed bourbon Old Fashioned with a Tater Tot garnish as Drink of the Day. Other than a somewhat unusual garnish, the only change we’re making to the most basic Old Fashioned Recipe is fat washing the bourbon.
As always, we use only ordinary pantry items and it’s easy. Here’s how you do it.
- Fry up a pan of bacon. Make it nice and crispy.
- Pour melted bacon fat into mason jar or other suitable container.
- Add bourbon and give it a shake.
- Place mixture in freezer, allow fat to separate out and solidify.
- Remove fat and filter into another container. A coffee filter works extremely well for this.
Now that you have bourbon infused with bacon goodness (and we all know that everything is better with bacon, right?) all you need to do to get ready is crisp up some Tater Tots. Bonus points toward membership in the Drunkard’s Hall of Fame if you fry them up in some of the bacon fat.
This is perhaps an even better breakfast cocktail than the Breakfast Martini we visited January 29. It pairs beautifully with waffle iron crisped Tater Tots and those can be further embellished with your choice of additions.
- 2 oz Bacon fat washed bourbon (see note)
- 1 Sugar Cube or barspoon simple syrup, but if you’ve got it maple syrup is even better with breakfast.
- Aromatic Bitters of choice
- Garnish: Bacon strip and crispy Tater Tot
- Place all ingredients except garnish in your trusty mixing glass. If you’re using a sugar cube splash it with bitters before adding bourbon and muddle to dissolve sugar.
- Stir until frosty cold.
- Pour into Old Fashioned Glass.
- Garnish with bacon and Tater Tot. The Tater Tots are best speared and placed on the rim of the glass. They lose their crispy goodness if dropped in the drink.
- Rinse and repeat. If by some odd chance you have any bacon fat washed bourbon left it’s best to store this in the fridge.