By Mat Schaffer, for WhereTraveler.com
Is there a fat-washed cocktail coming to a bar near you? Inventive local mixologists have been experimenting with adding fats to their drinks because 1) fat tastes good, and 2) why not?
At Banyan Bar+Refuge in the South End, bar director Jon Kochis makes a high-octane Thai iced tea libation he calls "Cha Yen Thiy." The main ingredient is tallow-washed Old Monk Rum. That's rum infused with the fat from beef suet.
Kochis first heats the suet to melt it down, then freezes the mixture to separate the fat from any impurities. He skims off the cold fat as you'd skim off frozen chicken soup, reheats it and pours it through a chinois sieve into the rum. The rum goes into the freezer for 45 minutes and then is strained through a coffee filter.
Voila, tallow-washed rum.
Old Monk is aged black rum that's been produced in India for more than 50 years. A side-by-side tasting of the original versus Banyan's tallow-washed version shows the tallow rum is smoother, with more of a full-bodied mouth feel. It's also slightly darker in color and has more pronounced vanilla and caramel notes than unadulterated Old Monk.
Kochis' "Cha Yen Thiy" is made with the tallow-washed Old Monk, brewed Thai iced tea and creamy coconut milk, and then garnished with a sprinkle of crushed cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
"I look for layers of flavor," Kochis says.
Bring on the fat.
Other Fat-Washed Cocktails
That'll Do: Smoked pigtail-infused scotch, Dolin Rouge vermouth, maple liqueur and absinthe. Bar manager Seth Freidus developed the cocktail to use the smoked, pig's-tail bones left over from the kitchen's popular roasted clam and smoked pig's tail entree. Alden & Harlow, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA, 617.864.2100
Summer Nog: Devised by bar director Todd Maul as a year-round alternative to eggnog (and it's vegetarian). It's made with pineapple juice, Zaya rum and homemade coconut butter extracted from coconut milk using a centrifuge. Café ArtScience, 650 E. Kendall St., Cambridge, MA, 857.999.2193
Grabthar's Hammer: Bartender Adam (AJ) Bauer combines house-made, bone marrow-infused, over-proof, white whiskey with simple syrup, lemon, Peychaud's and Mole bitters. It is an homage to the character Dr. Lazarus (portrayed by Alan Rickman) in the movie "Galaxy Quest." The Kirkland Tap & Trotter, 425 Washington St., Somerville, MA, 857.269.6585
Ward 8 Bloody: Jazz up your bloody mary by choosing bacon-infused vodka, made by steeping browned, double-smoked bacon in vodka. It's garnished (of course) with a crisp, bacon strip. Ward 8, 90 N. Washington St., Boston, MA, 617.823.4478
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Author Mat Schaffer is a contributor for Where.
Photo credits: courtesy Banyan Bar+Refuge; courtesy The Kirkland Tap & Trotter