Soul Mates

The sweeping symbiosis of pork and potent drinks

Don't tell our chef friends, but if we had to pick a permanent home for our favorite pork dishes, we'd give them to a bar before a restaurant. For whatever reason–be it scientific, spiritual or otherwise–the pig and the cocktail were destined for each other.

And barkeeps are hip to such knowledge: Bar-snack menus throughout the city are dotted with piggy treats. The Clover Club has gained as much notoriety for its brunchtime bacon tasting and excellent BLT (available as long as tomatoes are in season, so hurry) as it has for its cocktails, while spots like Death & Co. and Rye always serve some iteration of pork belly with their drinks.

In Red Hook, you can cut Fort Defiance's riffs on classic cocktails with a dish of pork loin and roasted potatoes. But it's the East Village's PDT that shows real mastery over the pairing by sharing its intimate environs–and menu–with frankfurter innovator Crif Dogs (a second Crif will open in Williamsburg this fall).

Bartenders are just as eager to cut out the middleman with a process known as "fat washing." PDT infuses the bourbon for its Benton's Old Fashioned with fat from the beloved smokehouse's bacon.

A lesser-known equally porky concoction is the Serrano-ham-washed Brandy Alexander at Williamsburg's Bar Celona. "All that beautiful fat was being thrown away, so I figured I should try using it," explains bartender Clif Travers. "I just pay attention to my chefs and use their leftovers."