Fat washing spirits has been around more than a decade, but the technique is being pushed to new heights. The cocktail, dubbed the Pekin Tom, is made with a bourbon washed in the fat from a duck confit, and it’s flavored additionally with stew-esque spices of bay leaf and thyme and a nod to Texas barbecue.
“Because we finish the drink smoked, the first flavor note you get is pecan wood smoke, which prepares the palate to receive something rich, like duck confit,” says Tanner Agar, Apothecary’s owner and creative director. And it’s the hit of richness he believes makes the drink really stand out.
“Fat-washing a spirit is like spreading soft butter across warm bread,” Agar says. “It adds a velvety texture, and the process is easy, affordable, and transformative.” However, it’s not just bars with a modernist perspective pushing fat-washed spirits to new creative heights—from traditionalist strongholds to progressive cocktail dens, bars across the country are adding fresh twists to this tried-and-true technique.
Fat washing began in 2007 in Manhattan’s East Village, at a bar called PDT, when bartender
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