How to Fat Wash a Spirit

By Jamie Boudreau

Fat washing is the process of infusing the flavor of a certain fat with a spirit. By melting the fat, mixing it with the chosen spirit, freezing the mixture, skimming the fat and filtering out the rest of the particulates, you are left with a clear wonderfully delicious spirit with all the flavor, and none of the greasiness of the fat, left within. In this episode, Jamie creates a bacon fat washed bourbon and uses it in the Chocolate Cochon cocktail.

Recipe

How to Fat Wash a Spirit

bacon fat from 5 or 6 strips of bacon

1 cup Maker's Mark

pour melted fat into a heat proof glass jar

mix Bourbon into fat

seal tightly and let chill until fat is completely solid

remove solid fat and strain remaining liquid through a coffee filter into suitable container

Chocolate Chochon Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Bacon Infused Bourbon

1/4 oz chocolate liqueur

1/4 oz kirsch

1/4 Ramazzotti Amaro

dash Angostura Bitters

stir with ice

strain into a chilled rocks glass over large ice

garnish with flamed orange peel

Comments
blair frodelius 7 Dec 2010
6:48 am

Jamie,

I’ve experimented using different types of bacon to see what effect each has on the flavor profile of the bourbon.  One thing I’ve discovered is that low-fat and low-sodium bacons do not work as well in fat washing.  On the other hand, I’ve had some Amish bacon from a nearby farm that is tremendous.  They even sell bacon ends and pieces which are mostly fat.  Makes rendering that much easier.

Great stuff!

Blair Frodelius
http://goodspiritsnews.wordpress.com

Ivana 7 Dec 2010
7:20 am

That looks delicious! Last few videos (new production) were truly great. Keep up the good work!

Lawrence Spies 7 Dec 2010
9:33 am

Apple Wood, Hickory, or Maple smoked bacon adds a nice touch as well!...

John Monguillot 7 Dec 2010
5:07 pm

Jamie- Great explanation of fat washing.  Off to the store for some bacon, but need to ask - where did you get the bottle from which you poured the Angostura?  MUCH better looking than the regular bottle!

Jamie Boudreau 8 Dec 2010
10:34 am

John:
The bitters bottle is made by WMF and can be found at CocktailKingdom.com

maxwell whitney 8 Dec 2010
6:41 pm

Hi Jamie,
I have found that people often find fat washes too salty or over powering for their tastes.
Due to this, i have started using clarified butter with bacon/ meat products and cooking them sous vide, and then fat washing with the clarified butter. i find that this gives a softer and far more subtle infusion taking away the bitterness that often accompanies a fat wash.
I love all the videos, you are the person that made me get into this more avant garde aproach to drinks, and in turn become far more serious about my work. Thankyou for constant supply of reading/visual material.

Jamie Boudreau 8 Dec 2010
8:43 pm

Maxwell:
If one has access to an immersion circulator, etc it is a wonderful tool, but I try to keep MOST of the recipes done on Raising the Bar accessible to the general public (there are two upcoming that use expensive tools). Having said that, I agree with you, and find that the filtered fat off of only 5 strips of bacon can be enough fat for three bottle of whiskey. I don’t want to hit you over the head with bacon flavour, but instead offer the bacon profile subtly, in the finish of the drink. Obviously the higher quality the bacon the better the results. Pork belly is something I prefer to work with as you control the amount of salt, sugar and, if you have the equipment, smoke.
Thanks for watching.

Jamie Boudreau 8 Dec 2010
8:44 pm

Ivana:
Thank you, and thanks for tuning in!

Filip 9 Dec 2010
7:02 am

Jamie,
What’s your thought with making this with white creme de cacao, will it work? I noticed your using a dark creme de cacao/choc liqueur but couldn’t quite tell what it was. I currently only have white at home.

Jamie Boudreau 9 Dec 2010
2:38 pm

Filip:
it will work, but not quite as well.

blair frodelius 9 Dec 2010
4:23 pm

Jamie,

I’ve used both white and dark creme de cacao and haven’t noticed any difference other than in coloration.  Why do you feel that dark works better in this drink?

Blair

Jamie Boudreau 11 Dec 2010
9:05 am

Blair:
I discovered many many moons ago, when I was making this drink that the dark worked better than the white. Now at the time they were two different brands (it was too many years ago, so don’t ask) but my recollection was that the dark was a touch more viscous and deep (caramelly) in flavour.
On another note, I also preferred the color in this one with the dark cacao as it became a rich dark brown and not a washed out color that adding two white spirits would bring.

Jesse K 28 Dec 2010
4:54 am

Hi Jamie,
Great videos - thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us all.
In saying that, what is a good way to render the bacon fat into a clear liquid ?
Regards.

Jamie Boudreau 29 Dec 2010
11:26 am

Jesse:
If you render the fat under medium heat and put it through a filter, it will be clear.

Haiden Goodman 31 Dec 2010
11:42 pm

I noticed that you mentioned duck fat. Would that be good for this cocktail instead of bacon? I don’t eat pork, but this sounds interesting.

Jesse K 1 Jan 2011
12:25 am

Haiden, I was discussing this with my head chef at work and he thinks that the duck flavours would be really tasty, I’m going to try it in the next week with both and I’ll report back
!

Haiden Goodman 1 Jan 2011
7:56 am

Sweet. Thanks very much!

Nick L. 3 Jan 2011
10:49 am

Note to all:

Don’t throw away the fat!  Sure, you’ve made yourself a delicious bacon flavored cocktail with the bourbon, but use the fat to make some bourbon/bacon flavored cornbread or pancakes.

Cheers/bon appetit.

David L. 1 Mar 2011
9:19 am

Hey Jamie, Love the channel.  I have a few questions.  Where do you get your Ice blocks to carve.  I take it you have a special purveyor.  Also are you using the Japanese Method?  Also I am looking for a good place to buy julep strainers, and secondary strainers of high quality.  I love the look of all the stainless steel, could you point me in the right direction for that. I’ve been to cocktailkingdom but found it limited.

Jamie Boudreau 2 Mar 2011
11:34 am

David:
The carving ice comes from a 300lb block that we purchase and break down. We don’t use the Japanese method, but our own, which we find faster.
The best place that I’m aware of on the web for cocktail equipment is cocktail kingdom. Good equipment is very difficult to find in the US.

Pontus 5 Mar 2011
11:34 am

Hi Jamie,

first: great show!  Robert Hess and you have really opened my eyes to the world of the cocktail. Keep it up!

Secondly, here in Sweden I’m having great difficulty obtaining Kirsch (or any cherry brandy for that matter), so I was wondering what, if any, I could substitute it for? Would Maraschino work, or should I go for some other cherry liqueur or vodka? Or simply wait until I get my hands on some Kirsch? :)

Cheers

Jamie Boudreau 6 Mar 2011
10:17 am

Pontus:
I’m afraid that there is nothing really like kirsch, yes it’s cherry flavoured, but it is absolutely bone dry: no sugar is added. Maraschino and other liqueurs will make this a very sweet drink.

Liz 21 Oct 2012
3:31 pm

what are your thoughts on using pork belly?

sam bailey 19 Jan 2013
1:26 am

Hi Jamie, I cooked a load of bacon in the oven on a wire rack, but the fat that was rendered wasn’t that really think grease as seen on your video, it was more of a clear thin/watery type fat that so far hasn’t risen to the top of the infusion jar. Last time this happened it had mixed with the bourbon and so when I froze the jar the bourbon turned into a kinda bourbon slushy…what kind of bacon cut did you use in the video, how much of it to make that much fat, and did you oven cook or pan fry it? Many thanks buddy, I wana get this right and stop wasting precious bourbon…

sam bailey 19 Jan 2013
1:28 am

Oh and also, roasted lamb fat in Havana 7 year makes an incredible “sunday roast” mojito…

Nick L. 19 Jan 2013
9:29 am

Sam,

Are you sure you’re not getting wet cured bacon?  When I fat washed my bourbon I made a special trip out to the butcher and bought the smokiest dry cured bacon they had (cost a pretty penny, but I wasn’t buying much).  When you use wet cured bacon, a lot of the brine gets purged during the cooking process…which should be pretty watery and salty.  Just a thought.

Celestino 2 Mar 2013
4:30 am

Okay as mentioned, here are my results! But first of all I would like to give a big hand to you. Now when I look at it, doing this kind of molecular mixing was actually much fun! 

One thing I have to mention, should I ever do this again. The bacon quality does matter, as many have mentioned here on the replies. I personally had to use MANY bacon strips and like Maxwell said, a bit clarified butter as well. The amount of bacon fat was rather minimal compared to yours. Also next time I would use the oven instead of a pan.

The rest of the process was easy peasy (straining/bottling etc.) Here’s the process:

http://kuvaton.com/k/YrLT.jpg (I hope the link works)

Now instead of your chocolate-cherry-Ramazotti version I made an Old Fashioned with it.

2 oz. bacon infused Bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
.25 oz Maple syrup
dash angostura bitters
slice of orange

(stir w/ ice and strain)

And avot, here it is!

http://postimage.org/image/kdufy417h/ (I hope this link works as well)

5/5! The cocktail was brilliant!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Asgeir Halldorsson 3 May 2013
3:47 pm

Hi, thanks for the recipe, first I thought this was too crazy to be any good.
I tried it out using seasoned lambfat and jack daniel’s. Mixed the infused bourbon in coke and a slice of lime and used a lambrib as decoration.
It was mindblowingly good, the slice of lime gave it a good taste as well. However I didnĀ“t filter the bourbon at all, I just took the hard fat of and poured it on top of homemade clear ice.
Picture of the outcome.
http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o179/jeppakall/5262_10151350555576316_543243806_n.jpg

Thanks for the recipe!

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