Fat Washing Bacon & Bourbon

It’s time to get a little adventurous with some bacon fat washed bourbon!

                                Bourbon, clean jar, bacon fat, bourbon & bacon fat after 2 hours in the freezer

                                Bourbon, clean jar, bacon fat, bourbon & bacon fat after 2 hours in the freezer

Fat washing is the process of infusing a fatty flavor into a spirit. Both bacon grease and melted butter are popular, but the most common among cocktail makers recently is bacon fat and bourbon. Adding the two ingredients together and freezing the solution causes the bacon fat to rise to the top and congeal, where it’s easier to separate. The remaining bourbon is salty, smoky, bacony goodness.

Fat washing is a terrific way to get the two flavors together, because trying to add fat directly to a cocktail does not work; it becomes very greasy.

Don Lee was the first bartender I know of to popularize the method with the Benton’s Old-Fashioned cocktail (more on this tomorrow).

Here are directions to fat wash bourbon with bacon:

  • Cook 5 or 6 strips of good quality bacon.
  • Drain 1.5 ounces of the hot/warm grease from the bacon into a widemouth jar.
  • Add 750 ml of bourbon. Lee’s original recipe calls for Four Roses Yellow Label, but I used Maker’s Mark.
  • Let the infusion sit for about 4 hours so the flavors can infuse and the solution can cool to room temperature. Then put the jar in the freezer.
  • After at least 2 hours in the freezer, the bacon fat will congeal on top, leaving a clear bourbon liquid on the bottom.
  • Take a spoon and break a hole in the hard bacon fat.
  • Strain the bourbon through a cocktail strainer. Then strain again through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to get all the bacon fat chunks out.

If you don’t want to experiment with a whole bottle of bourbon, adjust the ratio to use a half or even a quarter of a bottle.

Tomorrow and next Thursday I’ll post cocktail recipes that use this fat washed bourbon—stay tuned.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below, email, or hit us up on social media. No question is too basic!