We recently came across “Fat Washing” spirits. This is a technique where flavor is infused into the spirit by simply melting your favorite fat (bacon and butter are the two most popular) mixing it in a jar with a spirit, letting it steep for a few hours, then extracting the fat by freezing it and straining the spirit through the frozen fat cap.
As we dug into the concept it seems that the origins come from mixologist Don Lee in 2007 at one of New York Cities greatest craft cocktail bars, PDT. His fat infused Benton’s Old Fashioned became one of the signature cocktails of PDT and paved the way for others to experiment with various fat infusions.
We dove right in by fat washing a bit of Woodford Rye Whiskey we had on hand. The result is a whiskey that has added smoky notes, a lusher mouthfeel and a subtle hint of bacon aroma that lingers over the glass. We fashioned it into a Manhattan using Punt e Mes Vermouth and a dash of Orange Bitters to rave reviews. Below we offer you the recipe for Fat Washing as well as Don Lee’s original Benton’s Old-Fashioned recipe and our Fat Washed Rye Manhattan which we simple call The Fat Man.
Fat Washed Bourbon or Rye
- 1 Ounce of Bacon Fat (sieved to remove any bits)
- 14 ounces of Bourbon (or Rye)
- 1 Pint Mason Jar
In a non-reactive pan, warm bacon fat until hot. Pour hot bacon fat into a pint-sized Mason jar and top with Bourbon (or Rye). Let the two steep for about four hours at room temperature, giving them a few good shakes now and then. Stand Mason jar in the freezer and allow the fat to rise to the top and completely freeze. Poke a hole in the top of the fat and pour the whiskey through the cap straining it as many times as it takes to remove any fat solids. (Use a fine sieve or cheese cloth). Use whiskey as you would in any other recipe.
Benton’s Old Fashioned
- 2 Ounces Bacon Fat-Washed Bourbon
- ¼ Ounce Maple Syrup (Grade B)
- 2 Dashes Angostura
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with an orange peel.
The Fat Man
- 2 Ounces Bacon Fat-Washed Rye Whiskey
- ¼ Punt e Mes Vermouth
- 1 Dash Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
In a mixing glass add the Fat Washed Rye and Punt e Mes. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a martini saucer. Float one dash of orange bitters. Garnish with a crispy piece of bacon.