The Oh Dang, That's Good Credit: Elly Tier

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Laura Kelton (Sportsman’s Club) and Carley Gaskin, who co-owns a cocktail catering business called Hospitality 201, are known for their love of snacks and for always carrying some in their purses. A couple years ago they were driving back from a bachelorette party in Nashville, “feeling not so great,” Gaskin says. “We stopped at a gas station and got two huge bags of pork rinds. Before we even got back on the interstate, both bags were gone.” It’s been a running joke between the two ever since, so when it came time for Kelton to choose an ingredient that Gaskin would need to make a cocktail with, she naturally chose pork rinds—and specified that they had to come from a gas station.

That didn’t limit Gaskin’s selection: she found 12 different flavors at a gas station not far from her apartment. “I picked a mesquite barbecue that I think will go really well with Dewar’s White Label,” she says. “[The whiskey has] some nice citrus and honey notes.” She steeped the mesquite pork rinds with the scotch for half an hour before straining out the solids to create pork rind-infused whiskey, which she made into an old-fashioned by adding a little honey syrup and smoked chile bitters.

Her inspiration for pairing the pork rinds with scotch came from a restaurant she worked at in Nashville, she says. The chef used to make crispy chicken skins the staff would eat as a snack, and one night Gaskin suggested taking a shot of scotch with them. The chef’s first response was “oh dang, that’s good!”—which is also the name of Gaskin’s cocktail—and the combination turned into an after-work tradition. Gaskin thought the slightly smoky scotch would work equally well with pork rinds (it’s also a classy pairing for a snack that, according to a 1989 New York Times article, was elevated in status after George H.W. Bush’s fondness for them became well-known during his presidential campaign).

Who’s next:
Gaskin has challenged Eric Simmons at Maple & Ash to create a cocktail with Wonder Bread.

Oh Dang, That’s Good
2 dashes Hella smoked chile bitters
.25 oz honey syrup
2 oz pork rind-infused Dewar’s White Label*
*Soak a large bag of mesquite-flavored pork rinds in a bottle of Dewar’s for half an hour, then fine strain to remove the solids.

Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice cubes, and garnish with a pork rind.