Looking to get more mileage out of your booze? What if we told you there are some weird yet delightful ideas and shortcuts to take your whiskey from “meh” to “genius” in the privacy of your own home? Intrigued? Thought so! For the serious home mixologist and anyone else who wants to tinker around with your bourbon, we’re challenging you to upgrade your whiskey with these experiments. Here are the three surprising things you can do with whiskey.
What is fat-washing bourbon?
For starters, fat-washing does not refer to the method of removing stubborn grease from an item of clothing. It’s actually referring to a clever cocktail technique that can add savory flavor to your favorite whiskey. And to be clear, it’s slightly different than making a whiskey infusion. In a nutshell, you’ll add a liquid like sesame oil or melted butter to your craft spirit at room temperature. Let it sit for a few hours and then chill everything in the fridge or freezer to let the fat harden so it can easily be skimmed off the top of your alcohol. The result is a spirit that has retained the flavor of the fat but doesn’t contain any of the fat itself. The first bartender to try this method was Don Lee at New York’s Please Don’t Tell (PDT). Lee decided to infuse two of America’s favorite flavors, bourbon and bacon, into a drinkable format. The end result? Benton’s Old-Fashioned, a bacon-infused cocktail that took off practically overnight. Since then, bartenders have fat-washed spirits with everything from peanut butter to an entire grilled cheese sandwich.
Get fired up for a smoked cocktail
Much like charring a good steak retains a massive amount of flavor, so does capturing the smoky aroma of wood chips and blending it with your favorite bourbon cocktail. Simply put, a smoked bourbon cocktail’s claim to fame is the flame. There are different ways you can smoke liquor, from smoke-rinsing the glass and the entire cocktail to using a smoking gun or making a batch of smoked alcohol with your grill and some wood chips. Although there are various methods to smoke the liquid, fancy or expensive equipment is not necessary to see great results. You can also experiment with different flavors like oak wood, pecan wood, certain herbs, vanilla beans or citrus peels. Add it all up and you’ve got a multi-sensory experience and added depth to your drink which can be pulled off at home with the right equipment and imagination.
Blended “infinity bottles” are all the rage
Now you can DIY pretty much anything, and that includes your own blended whiskey. Spirit lovers are now experimenting with “infinity bottles,” which involves taking a bottle that’s not quite full and topping it with pours of other bottles to make unique blends that you can’t find anywhere else. As the bottle gets low, a splash of another bottle gets added so the bottle is never completely empty, which lends itself to the “infinity” name. There are no hard and fast rules for creating a blended spirit, but you don’t want to throw liquors together without any thoughts. It’s all about finding the right nuance and balance. The benefits to trying an infinity bottle are numerous. For one, it’s a creative way to try the art of blending at home. And it’s also a way to use up almost empty bottles that collect dust in the back of your liquor cabinet. Who knows, maybe you’ll create a desired flavor profile that’s better than your favorite bottle of whiskey.
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