Cocktail Menu: Clock Bar in San Francisco's New Spring Drinks
High-Falutin' Boozin'

Fat-Washing Doesn't Have to be Used for Evil

Fat-washing is the technique by which bartenders infuse the flavors in fatty substances into alcohol. Usually that's a pork product such as bacon. The meat is put into alcohol and infused for a time, then the liquid is chilled and the fatty part, which floats to the top, removed. The flavor of meaty death stays behind in the liquid.

But, vegetalians, it doesn't have to be animal carcass that is washed.

Shawn Soole in Victoria, BC, Canada fat-washed a grilled cheese sandwich into Mount Gay rum and made a Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Martini. Read about it here and more on the recipe here.

Armano bar berlin4_edited-1 And when I was in Germany, at the bar Amano, I had a Fat Julep. The drink is a mint-infused butter which is washed into a bourbon. That's an infusion of an infusion, folks!

What other non-meat items could we fat-wash? Apple butter, blue cheese, jalapeno poppers, sour cream and onion potato chips, peanut butter, pizza, garden burgers, lasagna!

Most of my weekly food intake consists of deep-fried and/or cheesy buttery goop, so I could start fat-washing everything and call it a liquid diet!


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Blair Reynolds

Doughnut washed.

I'm patenting that.


yeah, that might work better starting with Moto's doughnut soup


Apple butter? There's no fat in apple butter ...

Camper English

Oh I thought apple butter was apples and butter mixed together. Shows what I know!


You can use apple butter like any other fruit jelly/ jam preserve and shake it directly into the cocktail. I used to do a calvados sidecar with apple butter on an older cocktail menu

Paul M

Love the sound of a blue-cheese washed gin in a martini to go with blue-cheese stuffed olives.

Anyone tried an olive oil wash to see if any flavour is carried through once the oil is skimmed back off?

Camper English

I've had olive oil in drinks, but not washed with it. Would you be trying to get olive oil flavor without texture?


i'm quite partial to a heavy butter carmelised apple infused rum in a daiquiri.

Jacob Briars

I saw a lot of cocktail competitions last year, and even organised a few. Fat-washing seemed to be spreading like a plague, some good, many 'band-wagon' only - such as grilled-salmon-washed-gin and so on.

The best I tasted all year was made by Jason Bran (Roger Room, LA) for the 42 Below World Cup in NYC, - brown butter-washed 42 Honey with Maldon sea salt, gomme and egg white. Simple and amazing, and it actually added a flavour that was new and enriched the drink.

Popcorn and rum and peanut and Scotch are two similar additions that really intrigued me and added to the experience.

My usual problem with fat-washing is that the flavour seems to duplicate the spirit, and so seems to be a case of 'look at me' rather than trying to add a brand new note to the cocktail.

With olive oil it can be really hard to freeze it entirely as you need a proper deep freeze (at least in my experience) like an ice chiller, rather than just a domestic freezer. But the grassy notes that typify olive oil (at least for me) are usually gone then.

Ben Shipley

The technique is borrowed from the perfume industry. It is called solvent extraction. There is plenty that you can read on it online.

Ethanol solvent extraction works best of things that are made up of hydrophobic molecules, which is why fat works so well.

On the olive oil front, you'll probably struggle to get that grassy note, as the extraction seems to 'prefer' saturated fats and waxes over the monounsaturates that make up so much of olive oil.

Maybe the unfiltered versions, with their higher presence of fruit waxes from the flesh and skin of the olive might work better. It still might miss the grassy note.

Maybe time to try a new technique and buy a centrifuge to separate the different density liquids if you've found that the cold kills the grassy note.

Louis Anderman

Hmmm...howzabout this:

Fat wash some bourbon with butter and pecan butter, then mix that with a couple of dashes of Angostura, and a tsp of Steens cane syrup or maple syrup (or a mix of the two), and voila! The Pecan Pie Old Fashioned!


I'm very grateful to the pharmacist who told me if my echinacea pills wouldn't dissolve in water they would dissolve in fat, and also in alcohol, so I should pick up some Vodka. Things like this should be better-known.

I can attest (as I have on ManoloFood) to the tastiness of the Grilled Cheese Washed Rum, which I had straight. I used to be too much of a snob to try such a thing, but I've realized the flavours can be amazing, and it's it about flavour, rather than technical points on someone else's scale?

I will definitely beg Shawn to make the blue cheese washed gin and report back.


i've done the olive oil washed gin and had great luck with it. everything is in the drinks thread on egullet if anyone is curious. the fruitiness of evoo does carry over but the aroma is not as intense pound for pound with bacon fat. the oil ends up with a nice juniper tinge..


I have had a bacon infused old fashioned at PDT in New York. It was glorious. The idea of the grilled cheese sounds so bad as to be fantastic. I'm horrified and intrigued all at the same time.


ha - that's what i thought apple butter was too. seems kind of nefarious to call something butter that doesn't have any fat in it! :)

Dinah Sanders

Jennifer Colliau is doing a pureed-olive washed vermouth and then garnishing her Dirty Martini at The Interval with a few drops of olive oil. Definitely changes the mouthfeel, even without the garnish.

Camper English

Ooh, I had better go try one of those.


I do a a blue cheese martini on my menu.
Stilton washed gin
Cocchi Americans
Walnut bitters

Served with a pickled walnut.

It goes down a storm!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)