Every year, a number of my friends choose to do “Dry January.” This year, don’t ask me why, I decided to join in. I had friends who told me, “If you’re committing, I’m going to hold you to it! Let’s do it together!” To make a long story short, January was, well, moist.
But for those of you who made it through the entire 31 days, this is for you.
Recently, my daughter sent me a picture of a cocktail that she said was the best she ever had - fig, lemon, black pepper and oil-washed vodka. What? Never hear of such a thing. I asked my mixologist expert and friend, Dwayne, who knew of them well and said, “It makes for a much richer flavor!” So I decided to research and experiment.
Olive-Oil Washed Vodka*
8.5 ounces good vodka
1.5 ounces very high-quality extra virgin olive oil - I use Frantoia
*This one takes the longest.
Combine vodka and oil in a freezer-safe container and let sit at room temperature for 5 days to infuse. Place the container in the freezer. Once the oil has solidified, scrape it away and filter through a cheesecloth to catch any little frozen bits of oil.
We recreated Lauren’s cocktail by shaking some of this vodka with a little fig jam, a squeeze of lemon, and some coarse black pepper - again, strained through a cheesecloth.
It was very good, but the great part about washing the vodka with a really good, fruity olive oil is getting the great taste of the oil without the fat. So I preferred it as a simple martini. I mean, you put olives in martinis, right?
Brown Butter Washed Bourbon
16 oz. of high quality bourbon
1 stick of butter
Melt butter in a small saucepan, stirring frequently until butter starts to brown and smell nutty, then remove from heat.
Let cool and transfer to a sealable container. Add bourbon and whisk the two ingredients together.
Let mixture sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, then freeze for 24 hours, until the fat is solidified. Remove from the freezer and strain through a cheesecloth until clear.
Transfer to a fresh container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Most of the recipes out there that use butter-washed bourbon call for an old-fashioned.
I personally like the flavor of this and wouldn’t mix it with anything. But I enjoy the flavor of a very good bourbon. This was everyone’s favorite of the three experiments.
Brown Butter Washed Rum
1 1/2 cups aged rum
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
Basically the same method as the bourbon - brown the butter, let it cool, add the vanilla (or the inside of a vanilla bean, if you have one).
Let the rum infuse for 1-2 hours and refrigerate.
Place the rum in the freezer overnight (up to 48 hours). Strain through cheesecloth.
This was lovely as well, but the richness and vanilla made this more like a sipping, rather sweet liqueur.
This was a really fun experiment, especially if you share the final product with friends or family for a fun analysis.
Of course, to be in the February 1st edition, this had to be done before Dry January was over.
So if anyone asks, I did it for science.