Duck Dive

1 oz Duck Fat bourbon* [Old Granddad Bonded]
1 oz Apple Brandy [Short Path]
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur [Barrow’s Intense]
Few dashes lemon ginger bitters [Hella Cocktail]

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

* Combine ~2 oz duck fat with ~8 oz bourbon in a glass jar. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour. Place in freezer for about 2 days. Then remove from freezer and discard fat cap (or save for later), and strain through coffee filter. Fat washed bourbon can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.


For New Year’s Eve, I took my first stab at fat washing booze by infusing brown butter into bourbon.  It was super easy and, more importantly, delicious, particularly in an Old Fashioned.  I also did some cooking that night, including a sous-vide duck breast.  After searing it off to crisp up the skin, there was a fair amount of duck fat leftover.  Armed with my new fat washing experience, I poured it into some bourbon.

Following the same process as the brown butter bourbon (add to booze, let sit at room temp for an hour or so, pop in the freezer for a day or so, remove and strain) yielded a silky smooth whiskey that had just enough of that trademark duck gamey-ness.  Whatever drink I made with it had to highlight these flavors, so I kept it simple and opted for a sazerac variation.

Just like the Old Fashioned with the brown butter bourbon, this approach really let the duck fat bourbon shine.  Taking the duck thing to heart, I looked for other bottles that had flavors traditionally associated with actual duck dishes.  Apple Brandy and a ginger liqueur were the perfect compliment.

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The Duck Dive has a lot going on, in a good way.  Duck and apples get along just as nicely in the glass as they do on a plate.  The nose is very bourbon forward, with some gamey aromas from the duck, followed by an unmistakeable apple aroma.  On the sip, the duck fat really comes through in the velvety mouth feel.  Warm bourbon is complimented by the crisp, mild sweetness of the apple brandy.  The Barrow’s Intense ginger liqueur was the perfect choice here.  It has a much more pronounced ginger bite than other ginger liqueurs, and cut through the other savory components nicely.  Some lemon ginger bitters from Hella Bitters enhanced that kick even more, and provided just enough citrus edge.

It’s safe to say this isn’t the end of my fat washing endeavors.  The process sounds much more daunting than it is, and the result is a welcome twist on the spirits you choose and the drinks you make with them.  Get out there and see for yourself!  I definitely recommend making a simple, spirit forward cocktail as the first drink to really let your creation shine.

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