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As I continue on my home bartending journey, I am determined to try everything at least once. I’ve worked on labor-intensive syrups, tried learning a one-handed shake, and smoked a cocktail. Despite my progress, there are still things I have yet to try and one of them is fat washing. As a pescatarian, I usually avoid drinks that feature fat-washed spirits, since many of them use animal fats. But, I realize that making one myself would eliminate that concern. In early 2020, I traveled to Berlin for work and met a bartender at Mr. Susan who patiently talked me through the process. When I finally tried it this past weekend it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I wanted to share it with you, along with a couple of cocktails that I hope you’ll enjoy.

What is fat washing?

In the plainest terms, fat washing is merely infusing alcohol with something oily in order to flavor it. Borrowed from ancient perfumery techniques, people often use bacon or bacon grease to achieve the fat washing of spirits like bourbon or whiskey. This process is much more about the flavor than the fat or grease added. While many fat washed spirits may become slightly cloudy in appearance, they are not noticeably greasy when drinking. After washing alcohol with a fat, most of the fat used is extracted back out, which we’ll get into next. However, the texture does change slightly, providing a silkier mouthfeel overall.

How to fat wash alcohol

If you search for fat washing, there’s no shortage of information. However, I find some of it confusing and more complex than it needs to be. It’s really simple, once you’ve figured out what spirit and what fat you want to use. Common fats that are used include butter, bacon, peanut butter, and oils (olive, sesame, peanut). The book Liquid Intelligence also includes a great guide on spirits and flavors that work well for this technique. The best rule is to pick a flavorful fat and a spirit that can be enhanced with more flavor. Gin, for example, may not be the best for this experiment given that it is already infused with botanicals. The most important thing is to keep everything clean and cold, after Step #2 below.

How to make Sesame Vodka

  1. Add a ratio of 10:1 vodka to toasted peanut oil, or 20:1 for sesame oil, to a sealed container. For example, 5 ounces of vodka and a half ounce of peanut oil.
  2. Let sit for five hours at room temperature.
  3. Freeze for 8 hours.
  4. Separate the oil from the alcohol by running the mixture through a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
  5. Store the fat washed vodka in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  6. Use within a week.

Using fat washing in cocktails

Peanut Butter Cup Martini

peanut butter cup martini using fat washing

I don’t love sweet drinks, so don’t let the name confuse your tastebuds. This drink is rich and flavorful but is also balanced. You can always customize the drink to your own preference by adjusting the sweetness. However, I would suggest trying this as is and seeing what you think. This drink was inspired after purchasing my first bottle of Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao. It’s also a nod to Valentine’s Day, which is coming right up!

Keyword: fat washing, peanut butter cup, valentines day, vodka


  • 1.5 oz toasted sesame fat washed vodka
  • 1 oz creme de cacao
  • 0.5 oz half and half
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 2 dashes chocolate bitters
  • 1 chocolate bar to shave as garnish


  • Add all ingredients, except chocolate bar, to a shaker with ice.
  • Shake well (15-30 seconds) until the shaker tins are frosty and cold.
  • Strain into a martini glass and garnish with chocolate shavings. Sip and enjoy!

Raspberry & Pomegranate Gimlet

This riff on a gimlet, is easy and unexpected. (For more on classic cocktails you can riff off of, check out this post.) I also love using fresh pomegranate, if you have one, or juice is fine too. For the raspberry syrup, you just need to heat a cup of water with a cup of sugar until it is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add a cup of fresh raspberries and muddle into the simple syrup mixture. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes and strain through a fine mesh cone strainer into a container that seals and refrigerate.

Raspberry & Pomegranate Gimlet

Keyword: fat washing, pomegranate, raspberry, vodka


  • 1.5 oz toasted sesame fat washed vodka
  • 0.75 oz pomegranate juice (OR roughly two heaping tablespoons of pomegranate gems if using whole fruit)
  • 0.5 oz raspberry syrup
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 pinch sea salt


  • Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  • Shake well (15-30 seconds) until tins are frosty and cold.
  • Strain into a Nick & Nora glass and enjoy.

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