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.