Glossary: Fat Washing

Fat Washing is a method of infusing a spirit with a fat. The goal is to get the flavor of the fat, washing away the actual fat content. Once you learn the simple process, a whole world of flavor possibilities opens and cocktails enter the realm of umami.


Fats from left to right, top to bottom:
1. Hazelnut oil. We're working on fat washing the oil with gin and pairing with a roasted pear syrup and lemon.
2. Coconut oil + rum. Seems like a match made in heaven.
3. Chocolate. You can infuse spirits with cocoa nibs without using fat washing, but how do you get the white chocolate flavor? I haven't tested this, but it might be fun to try vanilla extract with food-grade cocoa butter with a vodka.
4. Bacon. Perhaps the very reason for fat washing. A natural for bourbon and the vodka in a Bloody. Save all your bacon grease from now on. See a recipe and watch the technique here.
5. Peanut Butter. Melt down the peanut butter and try our PB&J recipe with tequila from last year here.
6. Duck fat. Is this testing the limits of our palates? Maybe, but for the bold, try this duck a l'Orange-inspired recipe here.
7. Almond Paste. I would love to do a almond-paste infused brandy in a sidecar.
8. Butter. Have you tried browning butter? It's delicious. Hot-buttered rum without the calories!
9. Ghee, or clarified butter. This seems like an excellent opportunity to do an Indian-inspired cocktail, by infusing the ghee with Indian spices like cardamom, cumin and ginger. Perhaps a Rum infused with ghee and cardamom with an horchata rice milk?
10. Olive Oil. Try infusing this with gin to make a dirty martini without the salt. Not really so dirty anymore though, is it?
11. Sesame Oil. Would be great in sake martini.
12. Sausages. A lot of pork recipes call for juniper berries, so this would be a great opportunity to use the pork sausage drippings with gin. Chorizo with tequila is also a good pair.

Honorable mentions: cheese (particularly blue), avocado, marrow, and er, brains.

Here's how to do it:
1. Pick a base spirit (gin, whiskey, vodka, tequila, brandy, rum, etc.)
2. Pick a fat
2. Heat the fat to liquid form if need be. In the case of meats, use the heated drippings. If you use dried meat, like chorizo, you do not need to use the fat washing method.
4. Pour the fat into a container with the spirit.
5. Give it a good shake.
6. Let sit at room temperature for an hour to a few days (there's much disparity on infusion time, so experiment!).
7. Move to the freezer to solidify the fat.
8. After frozen, break through the layer of fat that has risen to the top.
9. Pour out the spirit, straining through a coffee filter or cheese cloth.

P.S. the oils that are liquid at room temp will not freeze as well as the fat solids, so there might be some trial and error. Be patient. Be diligent. And if you have a blast chiller, use it. Ha. I wonder if an ice-cream maker would work.

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