A grilled cheese martini developed as a signature cocktail for Beecher's New York City emporium may make its Seattle debut as early as next week.
The grilled-cheese-infused vodka drink will be available at Bennett's Pure Food Bistro, owner Kurt Dammeier's Mercer Island restaurant.
"I'm a gin guy, so it isn't my favorite cocktail, but there's no doubt it's good," Dammeier says. "It doesn't taste funky."
Concocting a signature cocktail was on Dammeier's to-do list, but the task acquired additional urgency after UrbanDaddy - a daily e-mail service which shares a building with Beecher's in the Flatiron District - offered to feature the beverage in a late July dispatch.
"I'd heard about people infusing vodka with bacon, and I thought, 'well, shoot'," Dammeier recalls. "I looked up the recipe and we basically just kind of followed along the same path."
Dammeier and his crew soaked six piping hot sandwiches in 10 gallons of vodka, leaving the blend to marinate for 24 hours. Much of the spirit was absorbed by the bread, so bartenders had to vigorously press the sandwiches through cheesecloth to extract the infused liquid before freezing and skimming it.
"You end up with a very distinct grilled cheese flavor," Dammeier says. "It's kind of a cloudy, buttery yellow."
"By itself, it doesn't taste great," he adds. "It just tastes like vodka with grilled cheese in it."
So Beecher's resident mixologists added basil and tomato to the mix, serving the resultant cocktail in a glass coated with balsamic syrup and rimmed with crisped Serrano ham.
"We needed to blend things in to make this palatable to everyone," Dammeier says. "A lot of people really like it."