In both food and fashion, trends come and go. Some are classic (hollandaise sauce, three piece suits, Yorkshire pudding) and others are best left to the annals of history (hamburger helper, bell bottoms, spray cheese). Some are so offensive that we can, should and do run away from them full-tilt once we come to our collective senses (gelatin salads, pleated jeans, the side ponytail). However, in our haste to put our indiscretions behind us we often cast aside things that have genuine merit (fondue, pocket squares, the turnip). Fortunately, society occasionally resurrects these anachronisms and they may enjoy a renaissance (charcouterie, fedoras, bangs) or with luck may even become part of the permanent zeitgeist (tapas, wing tips, slow food). It is with this aspiration that I propose the next potential revival: the humble cocktail weenie!
I know what you're thinking "Cocktail weenies? Seriously? Are you drunk?" and I hear you but bear with me on this because these aren't your average 1950s party-favour-in-a-can cocktail weenies. These are made with fine Kentucky Bourbon, the brownest of the brown liquors! Just like Ernest Hemingway, there's something fantastic that happens when you steep things in bourbon and cocktail weenies are no exception. Granted, I've substituted Oscar Meyer's with Cumbrae's wild boar sausage, but I guarantee you the majority of the magic comes from the Wild Turkey and not the wild boar.
When I was a kid this dish was a staple of every party at my grandmother's cottage on the shores of Bobs Lake from which the dish gets its name. It was one of her stand-bys partly because it's delicious and partly because you could buy all the ingredients at the local general store. I'm not sure who among my grandmother and her cottage friends discovered the Bourbon secret but society shall be eternally grateful that they did!
6-10 sausages or hot dogs cut into 1 inch sections
1 cup ketchup
1 cup Kentucky bourbon
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
Combine all the ingredients in a pot over low heat, cover and bring to a simmer for at least 45 minutes to an hour, uncovering for the last 20 minutes so the sauce reduces a little. The Bourbon needs at least 45-60 minutes to work its voodoo magic. Stop short on the simmering and the results are decidedly sub-par.
When done, remove the weenies to a plate and skewer with toothpicks. Pour the extra sauce into a small bowl for dipping. Stand back and enjoy the compliments as your friends devour your retro-chic appetizer.