The smell of bacon, the gamey, fatty taste of goat or crispy duck skin. It’s not easy to get these savory sensations of meat from plate to glass, and because simply garnishing a drink with a slab of bacon just isn’t enough, bartenders are getting more inventive. All across the country, they’re finding new ways to marry meat with cocktails. These are eight drinks served at bars across the country that have been fat-washed and -infused with everything from duck and lardo to, yes, goat.
Can't make it to any of the bars serving these great meat-washed drinks? Try making the Duck Fat Sour from this list at home.
Sipping an Old Fashioned at Three Degrees in Portland can go one of four ways. In the case of the fourth, this one is a nod to the Benton, created nearly a decade ago by Don Lee at PDT, where fat washing first made its mark in drinks. At Three Degrees, they wash High West Double Rye whiskey with bacon, and mix it with maple and bitters for an Old Fashioned that’s decidedly theirs.
In downtown L.A.’s famed Bestia, the Chef’s Old Fashioned appeared on the menu when the restaurant first opened five years ago—and it never came off. The restaurant hasn’t shown signs of slowing down, no doubt due to the attention to detail in its dishes and drinks. This cocktail is served over a big ice cube and is made with hickory-smoked lardo-infused bourbon, Angostura bitters and salt tincture.
Bartender Alex Riddle came up with the Blue Derby, a cocktail set aflame. Using a piece of Roka Akor’s signature wagyu beef with Stagg Jr. barrel-proof bourbon, he cooks the flaming marbled slice. He combines lime juice, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, triple sec and bourbon, then sets the cocktail components aflame and pours the liquid between two copper mugs to caramelize the ingredients and burn off some of the alcohol. The drink is served warm. Is it really washing? Well, technically, no. But it was too cool to keep off this list.
Forget savory—this cocktail leans more toward a dessert drink, despite the addition of duck-fat-infused Grand Marnier. At Gerard Craft’s Taste in St. Louis, the Abduction is a mainstay on its menu, made with the infused Grand Marnier, lavender, lemon, black pepper, ginger, absinthe and mascarpone. Originally conceived as a way to use up excess duck fat, it fits nicely with the richness of the cognac and the combination of bitter orange, lemon and a heaping barspoon of mascarpone cheese, resulting in a cocktail that drinks like lemon cheesecake.
Leave it to Adam Seger, the barman of The Tuck Room in downtown NYC, to fat-wash not one but three kinds of meat in his Heisenberg cocktail. Using an infusion chamber, he pairs Armagnac, cognac and bourbon with, respectively, duck skin, bone marrow and bacon resulting in a smoky, pungent, yet highly drinkable, cocktail. Seger notes that they use a 750mL bottle of each spirit with the skin of one duck, three bone marrow bones and seven strips of bacon in the Breaking Bad–inspired drink.
Patina Group’s Evan Charest wanted to put a new twist on traditional cocktails and specifically create a decadent version of the Old Fashioned with whiskey drinkers in mind. His answer was the Foie Gras Old Fashioned, which takes more than a day to prep and is made with WhistlePig 10-year-old rye, rendered foie gras fat, sugar, bitters and an orange peel—also a nod to the Benton’s Old Fashioned, with foie gras in for bacon fat— which rounds out the flavor, making it more savory than spicy. The cocktail is finished off with a seared foie gras garnish.
There’s a lot going on in this Sour, but savory cocktails are often pretty complex, and this is no exception. Using duck-fat-infused dry orange curaçao (made sous vide style), the Duck Fat Sour is mixed with rye, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white. It’s then shaken, poured into a coupe glass and rinsed with absinthe, and the final touch is the addition of cranberry bitters and cinnamon.
Solomon & Kuff co-owner and head barman Karl Franz Williams loved the “savory, gamey, beautiful” aroma of goat so much that he wanted to incorporate it into a cocktail. To create a goat-washed rum, he rendered goat fat and paired it with Blackwell rum, chosen for its rich demerara notes. The Gon Country is made with the house-made rum, dry vermouth, velvet falernum and lime.
Mixing your cocktail