THERE ARE NOT that many ways for millennials to rebel. Our parents lived through the 1960s, and they never get tired of telling us about all the wild raves, orgies and bacchanalian sit-ins, and how much fun it all was, and how the music was better, and how we kids need to loosen up and stop taking photos of ourselves in the bathroom.
The keto diet is perhaps a flaccid form of rebellion against the 1980s and ’90s, when our parents, dismayed that their super-skinny bell bottoms from the ’70s wouldn’t zip up anymore, decided that fat itself was the problem and developed an entire generation of food products with “lite” in the name. Milk went skim. Butter was replaced with something that, actually, we could believe wasn’t butter. And bacon became the great Satan.
So, appropriately, hipster millennials, in a collective howl against all the low-fat frozen yogurt they grew up with, have turned bacon into an art form.
And it’s not just bacon. We drown our French fries in duck fat and extol the virtues of artisanal lard. But we did have to give up carbs, because while we long to be rebels, we still want to be skinny. And that means feeling guilt about the sweetened cocktails our forefathers loved, with their juices and sugar syrups and Luxardo cherries.
Enter “fat-washed alcohol” — the cocktail concept that even a keto dieter can love. Any fat will do, and every fat will impart its own unique flavor notes to even the cheapest bottle of hooch. Dedicated carnivores can make alcoholic versions of their favorite meat-filled meals, like duck fat-washed rye with an onion garnish or a bourbon Manhattan imbued with the flavor of seared rib-eye. Vegetarians can fat-wash with olive oil, or almond oil, or even peanut butter. The bourgie among us can even fat wash with cheese. My friend Julian Garcia made me an Old Fashioned with Nutella-washed bourbon and banana water (see photo.) And if you don’t want to make it at home, you can buy a bottle of locally produced, award-winning Bakon Vodka (bakonvodka.com) by Black Rock Spirits, the bacon-topped baked potato of beverages.
Fat-washed alcohol is easy to make — just add fat in liquid form to alcohol at room temperature and let it sit for about four hours on the kitchen counter in a Mason jar (you Pacific NW hipsters do so love things you can do in Mason jars). Then put it in the fridge (or better yet, the freezer) until the fat floats to the top and solidifies, and then you can skim it off like you would with homemade stock. Alternatively, poke a hole in the fat and drain off the alcohol into a separate container. You probably want to filter said alcohol several times with a coffee filter to remove any remaining floating fat particles — they are less than attractive in a cocktail glass. Nevertheless, the remaining liquid might be a bit cloudy, but that’s all right, because cloudy = imperfect = artisanal.
Oh, and the absolute best thing about fat-washed alcohol? Your boomer parents will think it’s disgusting.