Bartenders Are Adding Prosciutto, Wagyu, And Brisket To Cocktails

Food & Drink

Fat-washing isn’t a particularly new technique. The process first appeared in the early aughts, when PDT bartender Don Lee put Benton’s bacon into a vat of whiskey and put it in the freezer. The fats floated to the top, he strained it off and was left with a smoky, umami-packed iteration of the whiskey. In an Old Fashioned? It was a global hit.

Today’s bartenders take fat washing beyond bacon, utilizing ingredients like prosciutto, wagyu, sesame and pistachio to alter a spirit and add smoothness.

This trend is a continuation of a recent shift towards more savory drinks. Bars like Double Chicken Please and Barcelona’s Paradiso — both the world’s top bars — focus on food-inspired drinks that utilize salty, savory, umami, or spicy flavors. The New York Times forecasted one of the top food trends of 2023 would be ‘embracing the brine.’ Here are 9 options to seek out.

Noko’s Old Fashioned

The thing to pair with Chef Dung “Junior” Vo’s wagyu tartare and smoked wagyu brisket? An Angel’s Envy old fashioned fat washed with Wagyu for oomph and a subtle umami.

Machete’s Bigfoot Sighting

At the James Beard-nominated Machete in Greensboro, Wagyu is also utilized, this time with bourbon. From here, things only get weirder: a simple syrup made with ketchup and mustard and pickle and onion bitters. On top, a pickle chip. “You’ll be telling all your friends about it,” the menu says. “Of course, most of them won’t believe you, so we called this cocktail the Bigfoot Sighting.”

Don Angie’s Two Yoots

This new-school New York institution channels the aperitivo jazz standard prosciutto e melone in cocktail form. Think prosciutto-washed rum, cantaloupe, lemon and mint shaken, poured over crushed ice and topped with a slice of prosciutto.

Tabard Inn’s Late Night Inn the Kitchen

In Washington, DC, this historic hotel (it opened its doors in 1922) offers a mezcal-and-aperitivo drink. The twist? Ilegal Joven Mezcal fat-washed with duck fat and a swirl of duck prosciutto instead of say, a lemon twist.

Husk Savannah’s Duck and Cover

The Savannah outpost of Husk also leans on the duck-and-mezcal combination, turning it into an Old Fashioned of sorts with orange, coriander and smoked salt served on a big rock.

North of Bourbon‘s Get Buttered

Louisville’s iconic bourbon bar proves that brown butter makes everything better, including Wild Turkey 101. It’s stirred and served with demerara syrup, spiced cherry and orange bitters.

Gulaabo’s Makhani

In Manhattan’s Theater District, butter chicken is mirrored on both the food and drink menu, the latter via a cocktail called the Makhani. It’s made with whiskey fat-washed with extra Makhani sauce, honey, peychaud’s and Angostura bitters and grapefruit zest. A spear of naan sits on the rim.

Brewery Saint X’s Brisket Old Fashioned

The New Orleans brewery doubles down on brisket with brisket-washed Benchmark bourbon, demerara, smokey amaro and a big pickle garnish.

Deviation Distilling’s Full Fat Washed Menu

For the vegan crowd, the Denver distillery has a full menu of vegan fat-washed cocktails. There’s mango lassi made with pistachio-washed blood orange gins and gins washed with sesame oil and shaken with coconut milk, lemongrass syrup, ginger, and Thai chili.

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