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Master mixologist Jeret Pena, of San Antonio’s The Brooklynite, explains how to “fat wash” spirits for an unexpected flavor boost.
If you haven’t been to San Antonio, you're missing out. I’m not just referring to the history or the best breakfast tacos you will ever eat—I’m talking about the booze. Jeret Pena, an incredibly talented San Antonio–based mixologist, has impressed everyone from locals to the James Beard Foundation with the inventive cocktails at his two (soon to be three) venues. At his original, über-popular bar The Brooklynite, every ingredient is made in-house—such as the home-brewed ginger beer in the Moscow Mule, the salt essence that mists the glass of his margaritas or the strawberry shrub that he pairs with gin and Thai basil in the house Missionary.
However, Pena also knows how to add depth to cocktails without hard-to-find components or labor-intensive procedures. One favorite techniqe at The Brooklynite is “fat washing,” in which a small amount of a flavorful fat (be it peanut oil, olive oil or even bacon fat) is mixed with a spirit and allowed to steep. The liquor takes on the fat's flavor, but none of its greasiness.
The recipe and method below are for Pena’s Shroomingway—a take on the traditional Paloma that pairs truffle oil–infused tequila with fresh grapefruit juice and lime. The cocktail is aromatic, bright and very easy to sip. If you are one to drink outside the box and can’t make it to San Antonio just yet, grab some tequila and give this a try.
Makes 2 cocktails
3 oz. Truffled Tequila (recipe below)
1½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz. maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo)
1 oz. fresh lime juice
Lime wheels, for garnish
In a martini shaker with ice, combine all of the ingredients, except the lime wheels. Shake aggressively for 30 seconds, then strain into coupes and garnish with lime wheels.
Makes 2 cups
2 cups silver tequila
1 Tbsp. white truffle oil
In a large jar or bottle with a tight-fitting top, combine the tequila with the truffle oil. Let it sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, allowing the oil to infuse. Store the jar or bottle upside down in the freezer (the top should face down so the fat does not solidify and block the opening); chill for 24 hours before using.