A new crop of rich ingredients are making their way into your cocktails.
By Camper English
FAT-WASHING—A SIMPLE AND clever technique for getting certain flavors into cocktails—took the form of bacon flavoring for many years. We’d see bacon-washed vodka in Bloody Marys and bacon-washed bourbon in Mint Juleps. Bartenders accomplish these feats by simply infusing bacon meat/grease into a base spirit, then freezing it to remove the grease that floats to the top. Bacony flavor and a hint of the soft texture remain behind in the booze. But now, the next chapter of this libation trend has arrived.
Now crafty cocktailians are moving beyond grease into other fatty liquids like coconut, olive oil, cocoa, butter, and even nut fats. Sounds filling? Fattening? Foolish? Not at all. Below, a few standouts.
At Knife at Hotel Palomar Dallas, bar manager Michael Martensen makes a fancy Martini variation called OIM, which requires olive oil-washed gin, vermouth, Chartreuse and sea salt.
Meantime, Gracy Ramirez, head bartender at West Hollywood’s Dominick’s, has created Dom’s Caprese Martini with olive oil-washed vodka, dry vermouth, tomato water, and a spray of aged balsamic vinegar. The drink is garnished with a basil leaf and mini mozzarella ball. How’s that for a salad-in-a-glass?
Butter works as a fatty liquid that can carry creamy notes as well as other flavors. It was famously used in PDT's Cinema Highball, which is a popcorn and butter-washed rum and Coke. At Bar Amano in Berlin, they make a drink with vanilla butter-washed vodka, lime, pink grapefruit, apple juice, and bitters. Others have offered a mint butter-washed bourbon Julep.
At The Devil’s Advocate in Edinburgh, bartenders offer a version of an Old Fashioned with Brazil nut and butter-washed Irish whisky, house bitters, and sugar. And Morgan Schick, ofTrick Dog in San Francisco, is doing a cocktail of rum washed with cocoa butter, which he says makes the rum taste like white chocolate.
Fat-Washed Piña Coladas
While tiki drinks don’t seem like obvious choices for fat-washing, they’re actually readymade for it. The famous Mai Tai uses orgeat, an almond-based syrup—and tons of other tropical cocktails call for coconut, which can be found in oil form.
At Rosewood Hotel Georgia (located in, well, Vancouver, as fate would have it), Robyn Gray fat-washes coconut oil into rum in the Compound Swizzle, along with pineapple and lime.
Chris Burkett, lead bartender at Cusp Dining & Drinks in La Jolla created a tiki-style drink called the PB Swizzle (pictured above) with coconut oil-washed cachaca plus coconut syrup, lime, pineapple, and orgeat.
And Naren Young at Bacchanal in Manhattan makes the house Mai Tai with almond-fat washed rum, orange curacao, chili liqueur, lime, yuzu, and smoked orgeat. I’m nuts for it.
Camper English is the cocktail columnist for Details.com and the publisher of Alcademics.com.
More from DETAILS: