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DIY: Fat-Washed Spirits

Pluck your favorite poison off the bar cart. Add some butter. (Stay with us, here.) Chill, strain, and boom: You’ve got a fat-washed spirit, ready for cocktails. Sound weird? Maybe, but if you’ve ever sipped clear milk punch, you’ve already tasted the good stuff—yep, milk fat counts, too.

“Fat washing” is essentially a fancy term for fat infusion: It adds round flavors and a silky mouthfeel to alcohol without residual grease. Since fats come in myriad forms—cooking and finishing oils such as olive, coconut, and sesame; animal fats; peanut and other nut butters; and plain ol’ butter, to name a few—the method lends itself to extensive experimentation. Try bacon fat–washed vodka in your next bloody mary, coconut oil–washed dark rum in a tiki drink, or olive oil–washed gin for a martini with a twist.

Ahead, find our recipe for Brown Butter–Washed Rye, a satiating spirit with subtle nuttiness. Mix it into a culture-approved cocktail (recipes below), Irish coffee, or an old-fashioned. If brown butter or rye don’t thrill you, simply swap in a different fat or alcohol (or both), and follow the recipe as is. Remember to measure fat as liquid to ensure recipe consistency; if it’s solid at room temperature (most animal fats, coconut oil), melt it first.


Brown Butter–Washed Rye



  • 2 pint-size Mason jars
  • Strainer
  • Coffee filter


  • 1 cup rye whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon melted brown butter

1. Combine rye and brown butter in Mason jar and shake 20 to 30 seconds until emulsified. Let stand at room temperature for 8 hours.

2. Transfer infused rye to the freezer. Let fat solidify overnight.

3. The next day, line strainer with coffee filter and place it over second Mason jar. Poke a hole through frozen layer of fat and strain rye into second jar.

4. Label and refrigerate for up to a month.


Cocktail Recipes


Rye Cider

This spicy-sweet seasonal quaff is equally awesome on sunny afternoons and cool evenings.


  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 ounces sweet hard cider such as Bantam Cider Wunderkind
  • 1 ½ ounces Brown Butter–Washed Rye
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters


  • On a small plate or in a shallow bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Rim a chilled double old fashioned glass with cinnamon-sugar blend. Fill glass with ice. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add cider, rye, and bitters, and stir gently. Strain into glass.

Brown Butter Julep

Fat-washed rye smoothes the edges of this strong cocktail and lends it a fuller flavor. Crushed ice is essential in a julep, so be sure to have it on hand before you start mixing.


  • 5 large mint leaves plus more to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces Brown Butter–Washed Rye


  • Place mint leaves and sugar in a chilled double old-fashioned glass (or julep cup, if you have one). Muddle with back of a spoon until leaves are slightly crushed and sugar becomes paste-like. Fill glass ¾ of the way with crushed ice. Add rye and stir briskly. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with mint.
Feature Photo Credit: Wollertz | Shutterstock

Rebecca Haley-Park

Rebecca Haley-Park is culture's former editor and resident stinky cheese cheerleader. A native New Englander, she holds a BFA in creative writing from University of Maine at Farmington.

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