As cocktail culture has taken off over the past decade, mixologists have had to get more creative with their concoctions. A sole mint sprig and a torched citrus slice is child’s play in 2018. One of the most savory new techniques to emerge from this creative climate is fat-washing. Fat-washing is the process of infusing a fatty flavor – in this case, bacon – into alcohol. The Office Spiritorium in the Strater Hotel has done just that with the Backcountry Flapjack, a delicious example of a respectable fat-washed cocktail that would make any lard-loving carnivore drool.
The Office has easy access to premium bacon grease that comes right out of the attached restaurant, Mahogany Grille. Chef Neal Drysdale of Mahogany Grille orders whole pigs from a guy who really goes by Farmer Bob. They make sure to use the whole animal, whether in entrees, appetizers, or cocktails.
And while it may seem complicated, fat washing is a fairly simple process.
The bar mixes the melted bacon grease into 1910 Templeton Rye whiskey. Rye whiskey is made without any corn – unlike bourbon – which creates a smokier, spicier flavor. The mixture is then cooled in the refrigerator. The grease rises to the top and solidifies, making it easy to separate from the whiskey that has been infused with the bacon flavor. Alcohol is hydrophobic, meaning it can bond with oils. (It’s also hydrophilic, meaning it can bond with water-based ingredients, such as fruit.) Fat-infused whiskey is fit for a cowboy – a refined cowboy – so the mixture is then strained to separate any solid bits.
This process creates a creamy, full-body texture to the whiskey that is good on the taste buds and easy on the eyes. You can see the hypnotizing oils spirling on top of the hazy amber liquid.
The artery-clogging whiskey is perfectly good on its own, but The Office uses the fat whiskey to make an Old Fashioned-style take on the most important meal of the day.
2 ounces of the bacon fat-washed 1910 Templeton Rye,
1/4 ounces Bigallet China-China (a liqueur made from sweet and bitter orange peels macerated in sugar-beet alcohol)
1/4 ounces of smoked maple syrup
1 large ice cube
Garnish: Burnt orange peel
How to: Build the cocktail in the glass. Mix all of the ingredients together and stir. Be sure to add the burnt orange peel in the drink to add flavor.
Jessie O’BrienDGO Staff Writer