It may sound weird, but fat washing alcohol has become a popular trend in recent years. It is a way to give a liquor a more unique flavor, as well as imparting a richer mouthfeel. This duck fat washed bourbon is an good option for those who are already into cocktail making and mixology.
You can ‘wash’ an alcohol with any fat. While meat based fats are less popular, mostly relegated to experimental or very high end cocktail bars, they do offer a very unique flavor. I personally think duck fat is the best animal fat in the world, and since I cook duck breast recipes at least once a week, I always have a jar of fat on hand.
Other fat and alcohol combinations include coconut fat and rum, cocoa butter and scotch whisky, and even brown butter with rye. Your options are nearly limitless so the only restraint is what you want to experiment with, and of course what will taste good in a cocktail.
You can often find duck fat for sale at high end grocery stores or butchers, but if you have to make your own it is very easy. Just cook up a few duck breasts like in my hot honey duck breast or duck with px sauce and save the fat. Each breast can have quite a bit of fat under the skin so the 25 grams of fat this bourbon calls for is about one to two breasts worth.
What Is Fat Washing Alcohol?
Fat washing alcohol is the process of blending and then freeze separating a ratio of fat (animal or plant) with alcohol. You can choose any fat and alcohol combination you want, but the goal is to find a ratio that is neither too weak or too strong.
Because you will freeze separate the fat from the alcohol, you do need to choose a liquor over 35%. This is because most home freezers cannot freeze an alcohol content over 35%, whereas fat will solidify at a much higher temperature.
How To Make Duck Fat Washed Bourbon At Home
Whenever I do recipes that require precise measurements I always use a kitchen scale. Spoons and cups can work for cooking, but for things like baking or making tinctures you should always use a scale. For this duck fat washed bourbon recipe I am going to pour 250 grams of bourbon into the cup.
If it sounds weird that I am using grams instead of milliliters, which would normally be used for a liquid, there is a reason. Bourbon is actually 5% lighter than water, so a measure of 250ml is actually less liquid than 250g. This is relevant because we need to use the same weight denominations for both the liquid and the fat.
Next spoon in 25 grams of duck fat. You should go slowly here as you want keep the measurement accurate. This means this duck fat washed bourbon has a fat wash percentage of 9%. (25 grams fat to 250 grams bourbon means 9% of the total weight pre-freeze was fat).
Next I pour the fat and bourbon into a pan. Duck fat melts at an extremely low temperature so I don’t want to cook the bourbon, I just want to make sure the fat is fully melted so I can whisk everything together. I just put the heat on the lowest setting for about 30 seconds while whisking constantly.
Once the fat is melted in whisked in, pour it into a jar. The jar should be something that isn’t heat sensitive because it is going straight into the freezer.
Place the jar of duck fat bourbon into the freezer. Plan to leave it there for at least 8 hours, but better overnight. The duck fat will quickly rise to the top and solidify into a puck of hard fat.
Once the puck is frozen, or the next day, you can drain the fat washed bourbon from the solidified fat. I use a metal straw and poke two holes in the fat. This makes it very easy to pour out without disturbing the fat too much. You should still strain the bourbon with a fine mesh or cheesecloth before bottling and placing in the fridge.
This bottled duck fat washed bourbon will last in the fridge for 2 weeks at least, but can be longer. However when I do fat washes I rarely ever go more than 250ml just in case it doesn’t turn out well. This particular fat wash was made for my cocktail Duck Hunt – one of my favorite recent creations.
Duck Fat Washed Bourbon
- 1 Kitchen Scale
- 1 Pan
- 1 Whisk | optional, can also use a fork or just swirl the pan by hand
- 250 g Bourbon Whiskey I used Wild Turkey but any bourbon will do. I would suggest not buying a crazy expensive one as you are going to alter the flavor anyways.
- 25 g Duck Fat if you can't make it at home, some butchers will sell it to you if you ask
- Weigh out your bourbon and duck fat and combine them.
- Place the mix in a pan and put the heat on low. Whisk it together. It should only take around 30 seconds as the fat melts at just slightly over room temperature anyways. Pour mix into a jar.
- Place jar sans lid into the freezer. Wait 8 hours or overnight for the fat to form a frozen puck on the top of the liquid bourbon.
- Poke two holes in the fat and pour the liquid bourbon into a jar through a mesh strainer. It will stay at minimum two weeks in the fridge.