Behind the bar at Tavern 109 in Williamston, there is a pair of shelves that looks like some kind of science experiment. Charred pineapple rings float in Bacardi Rum. A series of tequilas — used for the tavern’s craft margaritas — are infused with ingredients like watermelon and basil or jalapeno and avocado. Then my eyes settled on one of the jars on the top shelf. It was labeled “Bacon Maker’s Mark.” I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. Have the bartenders been reading my dream journal?
If I were to make a list of my favorite things, bacon and bourbon would be near the top of my list. (Sorry, whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens.)
I feared that combining the two would be the proverbial too much of a good thing, but one sip of the Mid-Michigan M a n h a t t a n washed that concern away. Tavern 109 puts a twist on the traditional whiskey drink with the bacon-infused bourbon and just a hint of maple syrup. The result is salty, smoky, sweet and savory.
The drink is garnished with a slice of candied bacon. Are you supposed to eat the garnish? I did. I have a firm No Bacon Left Behind policy. This policy, in my opinion, has been much more successful than a similarly named education policy. I encourage all of you to adopt it.
Tavern 109 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday- Wednesday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Sunday 109 E. Grand River Ave., Williamston (517) 655-2100, tavern109.com
Do you have a go-to dish or drink at your favorite local restaurant? We want to know about it. Email your favorite dish/drink and a short explanation about why you love it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and it may be featured in a future issue. If possible, please send a photo along with your description — a nice smartphone photo is fine. Cheers!