Fat-washed spirits are all the rage and their use in cocktails continues to increase. Depending on who you ask, they sound enticing or not so much, but say what you will, they are trending and Denver's bars jumped on that bandwagon.
Eater asked Scott McBride, the head barman at Strings about fat-washing. McBride said it's a pretty arduous process but one that bar programs in the big cities have been playing with and one that is definitely showing up in Denver. To infuse a spirit with fat, McBride described, you mix the fat - bacon, turkey, beef fat, even butter - into the spirit and let it sit for several days. Then, you freeze the alcohol until solid, remove the separated fat off the top of the frozen block of booze, thaw the alcohol, and then strain. The result is a fat-infused spirit.
Here's where to get your fat-washed spirit on in Denver.
Strings makes the Mad Manhattan with bacon-infused bourbon mixed with house-made coffee pecan bitters and maple syrup that evokes the smoky-sweet flavors of fall.
Steuben's, one of the very first bars to feature a fat-washed spirit, serves the Bacon Bloody Mary made with vodka infused with bacon and black peppercorn.
Frasca Food and Wine: Prosciutto di San Daniele fat-washed Bulleit Rye, fig syrup, Allspice dram, Cumin bitters (locally made). This is also the Eater Cocktail week this week, named My Kind of Rye.
Punch Bowl Social serves the Maker's Squeal, a bacon washed bourbon adult milkshake that comes with a candied bacon garnish.
At Gaetano's, get the Cosmic Picnic which reminiscent of Thanksgiving, combines turkey fat infused Silver Tree, with Leopold Bros. New England cranberry, dry Curacao, sage, fresh lime, and creole bitters.
The Corner Office offers The breakfast + Tiffany, bacon-infused bourbon mixed with maple syrup, orange, Angostura and soda.
Up in Aspen, Justice Snow's serves the Good Morning Manhattan, a bone marrow-infused Old Forester Bourbon combined with Nux Alpine Walnut Liqueur, maple extract, coffee bitters, that gets stirred and served up, garnished with a candied bacon strip.
Can vegetarians get into the fat-washed mix? Research shows butter and oils may be entering the arena as good candidates for fat-washing spirits. None of these to report in Denver yet, but stay tuned.
Bacon-Washed Vodka [Photo: Jeff Tidwell]