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What Is A Fat-Washed Cocktail?

If you haven’t heard of fat-washing cocktails, now is the time to read up on the trend. Perfect in the colder seasons, fat-washing cocktails is a great way to add subtle flavor and incredible texture to your cocktails. You might assume that fat-washing involves a rinse of fat in your cocktail glass, but there’s a little more to it.

First, you take a fat or oil—such as bacon fat, butter or coconut oil—and you infuse it into a chosen spirit. You freeze the liquid and allow the fat to separate and rise to the top. Then, you scrape off the separated fat, leaving the infused spirit behind. The fat-infused spirit is used in place of the main spirit in any cocktail recipe. 

At Mad River Distillers, we love to experiment with our spirits to make delicious new cocktails, so we recently created a recipe with a coconut oil fat-washed Vanilla Rum along with coconut water, lime juice and passionfruit syrup. It’s the perfect tropical cocktail to help beat the winter blues, and the velvety texture it gives the cocktail is incredible. 

To make the coconut oil fat-washed Vanilla Rum, and to make our Fat-Washed Vanilla Tropics cocktail, read below:


-8 oz. Mad River Vanilla Rum
-3 tbsp. melted unrefined coconut oil

In a mason jar, add 8 oz. of Mad River Vanilla Rum and 3 tbsp of melted (liquid) unrefined coconut oil. Shake both ingredients together well, 2-3 times within five minutes. Then, let the rum mix sit for 30 minutes. At this point the oil should start separating. Place the jar in the freezer for 24 hours. The coconut oil will solidify in the freezer, and form a solid on top. Once you remove the jar from the freezer, remove the solidified coconut oil. The fat washed rum is now ready to use in your favorite white rum drink. This process adds a silky texture to the rum and a subtle coconut flavor.


Fat-Washed Vanilla Tropics cocktail next to a bottle of Vanilla Rum, Coconut Water, passionfruit syrup and a lime

-1.5 oz. Coconut Fat-Washed Mad River Vanilla Rum
-1 oz. Coconut Water (we used Green Valley Coconut Water)
-1/2 oz. of fresh lime juice
-1/4 oz. of Liber & Co. Tropical Passionfruit Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and double strain into a rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with lime wheel or wedge.

Lime juice, coconut oil and coconut water are all easy to find at your local grocery store. You can find a bottle of Vanilla Rum and Liber & Co Tropical Passionfruit Syrup at our Burlington Tasting Room. To find a bottle of Vanilla Rum near you, visit our website. If passionfruit syrup isn’t your thing, you can always follow the fat-washing steps above to create your own fat-washed spirit, and experiment by using it in a cocktail recipe of your choosing. 

Happy mixing!

Recipe by Gragen Cook for Mad River Distillers. Written and published by Brianne Lucas on January 25, 2023.

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