What: Duck Hunt, with duck fat-washed Bulleit Bourbon, oloroso sherry, cardamom, rosemary, apple, and lemon.
Where: The Fainting Goat, 1330 U St. NW
What You Should Be Drinking: New York bartenders Eben Freeman and Don Lee pioneered the fat-washing technique of infusing spirits with oil-based ingredients that’s commonly used in cocktails today. Locally, Fainting Goat beverage director Ian Fletcher Googled the process because he likes the way it can add kitchen-based ingredients to drinks. He pours rendered duck fat into a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon, shakes it to combine, freezes it, then pokes a hole through the fat and strains off the whiskey. The bourbon is mixed with oloroso sherry, autumnal apple and cardamom, and lemon for brightness. “All signs pointed to ‘this should work,’” Fletcher says about the sexy, smooth, and indulgent tipple.
Why You Should Be Drinking It: Fletcher first tried using other bourbons as well as straight ryes, but he gravitated towards Bulleit, whose high rye, spicy profile plays off the creaminess of the duck fat. Likewise, he went through other styles of sherry, including fino, PX, manzanilla, and dry cream, but oloroso emerged as the best fit because of its deep, nutty characteristics and the fact that it’s neither too sweet nor too dry. Even the spices used were a work in progress. “Clove was too clove-y, [and] cassia and cinnamon basically made it taste like a weird pie.” Rosemary and cardamom best match the lemon and apple. Bright yellow in the glass, with a noticeable oil slick on the surface, the overall effect feels like a fall dish, basically letting you drink your dinner.