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Discover Fat Washing

Learn how to use the technique of fat washing to transform ingredients and give your cocktails that extra edge.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes


As the boundaries of traditional mixology continue to be pushed, bartenders worldwide are turning to unconventional techniques to redefine our cocktail experiences. An interesting technique gaining popularity in cocktail bars is fat washing, a way of introducing rich, savoury undertones to your drinks.

Fat washing alcohol allows bartenders to break convention and explore new taste profiles and blends to craft sensational drinks.   

Explore more about the rich, velvety world of fat washing in mixed drinks to discover which flavours work well together, and the best techniques for success.

What is Fat Washing?

Fat washing in mixology incorporates fats and oils from fruits, poultry or dairy products into spirits to infuse them with new flavour. These fats can be from things like:

  • Butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Bacon
  • Duck fat
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil

Once the infusion is complete, the spirit is chilled, solidifying the fats, which are removed, leaving their unique flavours behind.


  1. Quality Fats: Whether it's bacon fat for a smoky whisky, coconut oil for a tropical rum, or butter for a velvety bourbon, the choice of fat is crucial. 
  2. Sealable Containers: These are necessary for combining the fats and spirits during the infusion process.
  3. Fine Strainers & Cheesecloth: Essential for removing solidified fats and ensuring a clear, clean spirit. No one wants lumps in their drink. 

The process of fat washing is pretty time-intensive, but the reward for your patience is a unique, decadent liquid that can turn your drinks into genuine showstoppers. It’s a great technique to master, along with these other bartending skills it can really take your serves up a few notches.


  1. Simmer your ingredients into the fat/oil in a frying pan, making sure you do not burn the fat/oil as it will impair the flavour.
  2. Pour the fat into a container with the spirit you want to infuse.
  3. Place the fat/spirit mixture into a freezer for 6-8 hours.
  4. Remove from the freezer (notice the fat has risen to the top and the liquid to the bottom).
  5. Fine strain off the fat, leaving you with a fat washed spirit full of flavour.


Fat washing is a complex process, where a lot could potentially go wrong. To get the very best out of every droplet of fat, you need to follow the best practices adopted by some of the best bartenders in the world.  

Follow these steps to get the most out of fat washing:

  1. Choosing Your Fat: The choice depends on the desired flavour profile. Dairy fats like butter provide a creamy, rich note, while meats like bacon introduce savoury, smoky undertones. Vegetable and nut oils, like olive or sesame, add nuanced, earthy flavours. 
  2. Infusion Time: Once the fat is melted and added to the spirit, the mixture should be left to infuse. This can range from a few hours to several days, depending on the intensity of flavour desired. 
  3. Solidifying and Straining: After infusion, the spirit needs to be chilled, typically in a freezer, until the fat solidifies. Using a fine strainer or cheesecloth, the solid fat is then separated, leaving behind a spirit infused with its flavour. 
  4. Multiple Strainings: To achieve a clean, pure spirit free from any residual fat, it might be necessary to strain multiple times or even use a combination of cheesecloth and coffee filters.



As it combines culinary elements, fat-washed drinks are perfect options to serve as digestifs and aperitifs either side of a meal. There are so many fantastic ways to play around with fat washing, and it’s a technique that encourages experimentation. 

To get inspired, try some of these popular applications that are making waves in the industry:


  • Bacon-infused Bourbon - Ideal for Old Fashioneds or Manhattans, infuse American whiskey or Bourbon with bacon fat to add a savoury twist to classic recipes. 
  • Butter-infused Rum - The creamy fat of butter is perfect for elevating tropical drinks or can simply be sipped on its own. 
  • Sesame-washed Gin - Introducing nutty undertones that pair beautifully in East Asian-inspired cocktails by washing your spirits with sesame oil.  

Fat washing is more than just a fad; it's a testament to the ever-evolving artistry of mixology. While the technique demands precision and patience, the resulting flavours —rich, layered, and captivating — are worth the effort.

In the hands of the adventurous mixologist, fat washing is not just a process but an opportunity to bring many previously unexplored flavour profiles into the bar and create engaging new guest experiences. 


  • Fat washing infuses the flavours of various fats to add new flavour profiles.
  • You can fat-wash drinks with duck fat, bacon fat, and fat from oils, butter, and more.
  • The process involves cooking the fat you want to use, collecting it, and chilling it with the liquid so it freezes and can be removed.
  • The time you leave the fat to infuse will affect the intensity of the flavours.
  • Fat washing goes great with bourbon, rum, and gin.

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