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What Is Fat Washing Whiskey? Answered (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on October 17, 2022 by Lydia Martin

In recent years, the popularity of fat-washed spirits has exploded. Fat-washed spirits are extremely sippable and can be used in cocktails, from classic drinks like the Old-Fashioned to more modern creations.

But did you know that the process of fat-washing whiskey (or any other spirit) is relatively simple? But what is fat washing whiskey, and how to do it?

Fat Washing Whiskey Defined 

Bacon fat washed whiskey

Fat washing whiskey is a process of infusing whiskey with fat. This is done by adding the fat to the whiskey and then freezing it.

The fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off, leaving behind a delicious, fatty-infused whiskey.

History & Origin

Fat-washing whiskey started in 2007 in a New York cocktail bar when Don Lee, from Please Don’t Tell (PDT) in New York City, attempted a new experiment by combining bourbon and bacon. 

It is also said that fat washing is a method comparable to the ancient perfumer’s technique called enfleurage. [1]

How It Works

Fat washing whiskey on the jar

Fat washing whiskey involves adding a small amount of fat, such as bacon grease, oils, nuts, and cheeses to the whiskey.

This creates a barrier between the water and alcohol, allowing the flavors from the fat to be infused into the whiskey. The result is a smooth, flavorful spirit with a unique flavor profile.

How To Fat Wash Whiskey

Prep Time: 4-5 hrs.

Total Time: 24 hrs.

Equipment:  

  • Saucepan
  • Container with lid
  • Fine strainer
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • Knife

Ingredients: 

  • 750 ml whiskey
  • 4 ounces bacon fat

Instructions: Add the rendered bacon fats to the whiskey and let it sit for 3-4hours. Freeze the mixture overnight or up to 24 hrs until the fat solidifies. Scrub off the solidified fats using a knife and strain the mixture.

Serving: 17

Fat Washing Whiskey Oils & How To Use Them 

Olive Oil

Combine whiskey and olive oil in a container. Place the lid on the container, and shake well to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for 24-48 hours, shaking occasionally.

Afterward, place a coffee filter or cheesecloth over a bowl or container, and pour the mixture through it to strain out the olive oil. 

Duck Fat

Duck fat is commonly used because it imparts a rich, savory flavor to the whiskey, most notably rye whiskies, because it complements well with the spicy notes.

To do it, combine the liquor and duck fat in a container and allow them to infuse for 24-48 hours. After infusion, strain the liquid through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.

Sesame Oil

sesame with oil on the bowl

Whiskey can be fat-washed with sesame oil to create a unique and flavorful spirit. It infuses the whiskey with the oil’s nutty flavor and aroma, resulting in a smooth, rich drink.

Combine both in a container, shake well, place the container in the refrigerator overnight, then strain.

Coconut Oil

Combine coconut oil and whiskey in a container. Freeze for several hours or until the coconut oil has solidified.

Allow it to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. Scoop out the solidified coconut oil from the surface of the whiskey and strain if necessary.

Bacon

Bacon fat adds a delicious smoky flavor to the whiskey. To fat wash with bacon, cook some bacon and save the rendered fat.

Add the fat to the whiskey, let it sit for a few hours before freezing overnight, and strain off the solid bits afterward.

Peanut Butter

The fat from the peanut butter binds the whiskey, creating a rich and creamy flavor. Start heating up whiskey and peanut butter until they are fully combined.

Then, the mixture is cooled so the peanut butter solidifies and can be strained. What’s left is a delicious, smooth whiskey with a subtle peanut butter flavor.

Butter

Close up View of Melting Butter in a Hot Pan

The fat from the butter creates a rich, creamy flavor that can add depth and complexity to the whiskey. The process of doing this can be done using the same method as fat-washing peanut butter.

What Fat Washed Whiskey Tastes Like

Whiskey that has been fat-washed tastes smooth and creamy with a slightly silky texture.

The flavor is rich and complex, with notes and flavors of the chosen fat. There is also a slight smoky note from the charred barrel in which the whiskey was aged.

Should You Fat Wash Your Whiskey?

You can fat wash your whiskey, but it’s unnecessary. Fat washing can give your whiskey a richer flavor and mouthfeel, but it can also make it taste a little oily or greasy.

If you decide to fat wash your whiskey, use a high-quality oil or fat that won’t impart any off flavors to your spirit.

FAQs

What happens to fat when mixed with whiskey?

In fat-washing techniques, the fats usually rise to the top and form a layer on the surface, which can be easily scrubbed off, leaving its flavor infused in the whiskey.

How long does it take to fat-wash bourbon?

The process of fat-washing bourbon can be done overnight or at least around 24 hours. The length of the process can vary depending on what kind of fat you are going to use.

For example, fat washing bourbon with bacon fat can be done overnight.

In Conclusion

Fat-washing whiskey is a fun and easy way to add new flavors to your favorite spirits. Not only can you use any type of fat, but you can also infuse it with other ingredients like herbs or spices before adding it to the whiskey.

This process is perfect for anyone who loves experimenting with new flavor combinations.

If you’re looking to add a new dimension to your home bar, fat-washing your own whiskey is a great place to start.

Reference:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/technology/enfleurage 

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