Olive oil may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of cocktails, but cutting-edge mixologists know that it adds a rich, silky texture and a subtle, fruity flavor that can complement various spirits and mixers. Extra virgin olive oil is a secret ingredient that can turn a good drink into a remarkable one.
One does not simply drizzle EVOO into a mixed drink and call it a day! Olive oil cocktails often involve special techniques such as infusion, emulsification, and fat washing. Fat washing is a bartending technique that involves infusing the flavors of fats into spirits. This process is used to impart unique and rich flavors to the base spirit, creating complex and innovative cocktail ingredients. Fat washing is a creative way to add depth and character to your cocktails. If you have ever had a butter or bacon-flavored cocktail, fat washing may have been used to create that unique taste. Here's how to make it work with olive oil:
- Start by selecting extra virgin olive oil with a desirable flavor profile. EVOO is known to have a range of flavors that can range from fruity to vegetal to herbaceous. You will want to experiment!
- Combine the selected olive oil with the chosen spirit in a container, typically a glass jar. The oil and spirit should be at room temperature when combined.
- Seal the container and shake or stir it vigorously to ensure thorough mixing. Then, allow the mixture to rest at room temperature for a period of time, usually ranging from a few hours to a few days. During this time, the oil will infuse its flavors into the spirit.
- After the infusion period, place the container in the refrigerator and/or the freezer. The cold temperature will cause the fat to solidify and separate from the spirit. This can take several hours to a day.
- Once the fat has solidified on the surface, carefully skim it off or strain the infused spirit through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove the fat particles. This step ensures that you have a clear, flavorful infused spirit.
- Transfer the clarified infused spirit into a clean bottle, and it's ready for use in cocktails. Be sure to label the bottle with the type of EVOO and spirit used for future reference.
Why does this work? Because the olive polpyphenols that are partly responsible for the flavor and health benefits that you get from EVOO are water soluble, so they are passed from the oil to the spirit.
Ossy Trigueros, mixologist at Thompson Italian in Falls Church, and Virginia shares her special technique for an Olive Oil Martini with us.
Olive Oil Martini Recipe
By Ossy Trigueros / Thompson Italian
- One 750 ml bottle of best quality vodka of your choice
- 300 ml of high-quality extra virgin olive oil of your choice
- Maldon salt
- 250 ml of Dolin Dry Vermouth
- Orange rind for garnish
- Infuse the vodka with olive oil with the fat-washing technique. First, you will mix the vodka and olive oil together in a container and then let it infuse for 4 days at room temperature.
- Freeze the container for 3 days which will cause the olive oil to solidify
- Once the olive oil has solidified, double-strain until you have a clear liquid
- The infused vodka will last for 6 months in the refrigerator. Make sure to keep it tightly sealed.
- To serve:
- Mix 1 part Dolin Dry Vermouth, 3 parts infused vodka, and 3 or 4 flakes of Maldon salt.
- Shake or stir with ice and strain into a martini glass
- Garnish with an orange twist and serve!
The overall taste of this martini is clean and crisp, with a balance of botanical, herbal, and slightly salty flavors. It's a sophisticated cocktail that's both refreshing and savory and will blow your guests away at your next cocktail party!
PS You can save the olive oil that you filtered out of the vodka to save for cooking. We used it it a stir fry. The alcohol burns off quickly during cooking. Waste not, want not!