If you’re looking for a fun entertaining idea, consider throwing a Bloody Mary brunch party. People can have Bloody Marys with or without vodka, you can provide different flavors of vodka, and let them garnish their own Bloody Mary. The actual origin of the Bloody Mary drink is uncertain with claims that it was invented in the 1920’s in Paris while other people claim that it originated in New York, and others say it was invented in Chicago. Wherever it came from, it is certainly a staple on many drink menus around the world. Brunch items can be simple and you can certainly offer for people to bring their own favorite items. We decided to throw one over the weekend and for our brunch items, we chose to make deviled eggs, mini-frittatas, bacon wrapped sesame bread sticks, and French toast sticks with syrup. We made our own Bloody Mary mix and had shrimp, pepperoncini, celery, pickles, cherry tomatoes, and olives (some stuffed with pimentos and some stuffed with jalapeno peppers) as garnish. Letting guests poor their own Bloody Mary and garnish it themselves allows them to control the amount of alcohol that they want as well as be creative with the way that they garnish their own drink. We have provided our recipe for the Bloody Mary mix, but if you’d like information on any of the brunch items, just let us know.
48 oz Tomato Juice
12 oz Clamato Juice
1/4 cup Beef Broth
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 tbsp Prepared Horseradish
1 1/2 tbsp Celery Salt
2 to 3 dashes of Tabasco Sauce
Add all of the ingredients in a large picture, stirring to incorporate all of the horseradish. If you can’t find Clamato brand tomato juice, you can add the 10 ounces of tomato juice and 2 ounces of clam juice. If you would like a more or less spicy Bloody Mary mix, simply increase or decrease the amount of horseradish and tabasco sauce that you add.
What would get us to drive an hour and a half through a blizzard? Apparently, the answer to that question is the Bacon and Beer Classic in Denver. The Bacon and Beer Classic is an event where more than thirty restaurants and seventy breweries get together to provide an homage to all things bacon and beer. It was our first time going to an event such as this and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Held at the football stadium in Denver, there was an incredible array of food featuring bacon and the varieties of beer were spectacular. After a night of eating everything bacon and drinking beer, we might have to exercise for a month to work off all of the calories, but it was well worth it.
We’re not food critics, but we’ve included some our favorite food items and beers that we tried during the event. First and foremost, everyone that we talked to as we roamed amongst the various booths were incredibly friendly and happy to talk about what they had prepared for the evening. Despite being terribly cold, it was very evident that they all had a passion for creating unique food and beer and the love of what they did came through with the offerings that they prepared. The BLT Charred Octopus from Elway’s was definitely one of the most interesting foods that we tried. It had a perfect combination of flavor and texture, including a beer infused cracker that they made themselves. It went perfectly with the Blonde Stout that we had from the Industrial Revolution Brewing Company, which was lighter than most stouts, but still had robust flavor.
For the sweet lovers, the Happy Hour on a Stick from 240 Sweet was an impressive treat with a toasted marshmallow rolled in chocolate, nuts, and bacon. Similarly, the Madagascar Dream Cream Ale from Platt Park Brewing Company was an interesting combination of a creamsicle and ale, giving it a hint of sweetness, but still being faithful to the flavors of a traditional ale. Their Tropical Snow Dance IPA was equally interesting with the usual hoppy notes of an IPA, but with a softer flavor profile, although there was nothing tropical about the weather that day.
The Bacon and Hashbrown Casserole with Bacon Queso Fundido from Wild Eggs was a little taste of heaven and definitely one of our favorites from the night. It was creamy and delicious with just the right amount of bacon. And for those that just can’t get enough bacon, there were plenty of flavor infused bacon strips to try, especially from the folks at Hormel’s Black Label Bacon who were dishing them out by the handful. Admittedly, their Jalapeno Bacon was pretty darn tasty. The Grimm Brothers Brewhouse had a nitro-infused Little Red Cap and a 3 Golden Hairs Pilsner that had a much happier ending than any of the fairytales that might have inspired their names. The House Cured and Hickory Smoked Bourbon and Apple Cider Braised Bacon from The Colorado Pig Rig was the perfect combination of sweet and savory, but one of our favorite bites of the night was the Pork Belly Banh-mi with Asian Beer Mustard, Pickled Veggies, and Cilantro from The Corner Office.
Based on the number of people who braved the elements to enjoy an evening of bacon and beer, there are certainly a lot of bacon and beer lovers in Colorado. We know that the love of beer is shared around the world, but perhaps the love of a bacon is as universal as well. If good food and drinks weren’t enough, there was also fun to be had with lively games like Giant Jenga, Beer Pong, Bean-Bag Toss, and more, as well as a band wandering the corridor. People were definitely enjoying themselves, but then again, it was all you can eat and drink. There was so much good food and beer that we can’t tell you about everything that we ate and drank, but there are a few more that are definitely worth mentioning. The Citra Hop and Ginger Bacon with Rhubarb Caramel Drizzle from First Draft Tap Room and Kitchen was extremely good as was Bacon Jam and Pimento Cheese Sandwich Quarters from Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. The root beer from Not Your Father’s Root Beer is decadently good since you don’t taste any of the alcohol.
For a perfect beer pairing, the Bacon Pretzel Sticks with Bacon and Beer Obatzda from Rhein Haus was a definite must try. Guiness was there to show off their new Nitro IPA, but we were more impressed with the Colorado craft beers from Aspen Brewery, Upslope Brewing Company, and we were really impressed with German Hefe from Odyssey Brewing. The Bacon Pizza from Simply Pizza was absolutely delicious as was the Smoking Crackling Pork Belly Bites with Lechon Sauce from Orange Crunch. All in all, it was a great night of food, beer, and fun. We’ll definitely be going back again next year when hopefully it will be much warmer. It will probably take us that long to lose the weight that we gained in a single evening of pork and ale, but it was worth a night of over-indulgence.
Needless to say, sometimes something super simple can be absolutely delicious, especially when it has bacon. This is the case with these bacon wrapped crackers. They don’t take much time, are simple to do, and are truly a crowd pleaser. They are perfect for a holiday or tailgate party and can be served warm or at room temperature. If they weren’t so decadent, we’d make them for a weekend afternoon snack while we’re watching sports, but these aren’t your everyday type of snack food. While you can probably make these with almost any type of cracker, we’ve found that rectangular crackers work the best. And don’t choose a saltine cracker, you need one with some buttery flavor to it, after all, you won’t find this in any diet books. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
36 Buttery Crackers – Rectangular (such as Town House)
12 Slices of Bacon (not thick sliced)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese – finely grated
Cut the bacon strips into thirds, which should result in 36 slices of bacon approximately 3 to 4 inches in length. Wrap each cracker around the narrow side with a slice of bacon, being sure to overlap the edges where the strips meet. Place the bacon wrapped crackers, with the side where the bacon edges meet down, onto a baking sheet with a rack or parchment paper. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Cook the bacon wrapped crackers for 12 to 15 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Immediately upon removing the crackers from the oven, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.