The beauty of gin is found in its flavor — a smooth yet strong botanical, juniper berry taste that some adore and some despise. It’s easy to manipulate if you know what you’re doing, and for gin drinkers, ingesting the spirit is a relaxing, somewhat spiritual moment.
Denver-based Deviation Distilling is the destination for gin lovers and haters alike. The way this distillery plays with the spirit and makes it utterly approachable, playful and simply delicious is unheard of. Deviation is known for the beautifully-decorated bottles that look perfect on an at-home bar cart and its unique twists on gin cocktails.
Not to mention its gorgeous tasting room location in LoDo’s Dairy Block — a bar I personally can’t live without.
Its newest undertaking is an extensive fat-washed cocktail menu, something that’s gained popularity this year and only continues to grow in the mixologist community. ‘Fat-washing’ is the process of adding liquid fat to a spirit in order to add flavor, texture and a silky smooth mouthfeel. The procedure is time-consuming but overall relatively straightforward and well worth it.
Deviation’s menu features bacon, butter, feta olive oil, pistachio, sesame oil and hazelnut-washed options — making these drinks attainable for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Most of the cocktails are gin-based, with its Bacon Churro Old Fashioned being the exception, made with Deviation’s bacon fat-washed ZinFin Bourbon, graham cracker, house amaretto liqueur, orange bitters, Aztec bitters and Angostura bitters.
Other favorites on the fat-washed menu include the Passion Mousse — with butter-washed Citrus Rosé Gin, passion fruit mousse, velvet falernum, lemon juice, apricot bitters and aquafaba — and its Mango Lassi, made with pistachio-washed Blood Orange Gin, mango purée, lime juice, cardamon bitters, house yogurt liqueur and saffron rose water, topped with the most beautiful pistachio garnish you’ve ever seen.
“From our extensive list of housemade liqueurs, bitters, garnishes, and even ice offerings, we have always worked hard at creating beautiful ingredients you truly cannot find anywhere else. As we saw the rise in popularity of fat-washed cocktails, we wanted to expand the breadth of what’s possible and offer an extensive list that included vegan and animal product washes,” said Tiago Amaral, head mixologist at Deviation.
But the overall favorite has to be Sesame State of Mind, a creation with Deviation Spice Trade Gin, sesame oil wash, coconut milk, lemongrass syrup, ginger liqueur, Thai chili tincture and cucumber — a beautifully spiced and creamy sipper.
Luckily, Deviation shared the recipe with 303 Magazine, complete with fat-washed directions if you’re in the mood to experiment.
Sesame State of Mind Recipe
1.25 oz sesame oil-washed Deviation Spice Trade gin (or your favorite gin)
.5 oz ginger liqueur
.75 lemongrass syrup
1 oz. coconut milk
6 dashes of Thai chili or spicy bitters
1-inch chunk of cucumber
Muddle cucumber. Dry shake and strain. Add to rocks glass. Add all remaining ingredients (except bitters and garnish) to rocks glass. Stir and garnish with lime.
Fat-washed Sesame Oil Gin Recipe
Combine 750 ml of gin and 1.5 oz of sesame oil in a container. Leave the mixture out on the
counter for four hours, stirring the container a few times. After infusing it for four hours,
place in freezer for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove from the freezer and place into a larger
container. Pour the mixture through a strainer (ideally a Chinois strainer) with a filter in it (ideally an oil filter). Let drain thoroughly while in the freezer. Once the entire liquid goes through the Chinois strainer, the process is done.
Lemongrass Syrup Recipe
Chop 250g of lemongrass. Add lemongrass and 2.5 liters to a pot. Simmer for 20 minutes over
medium heat. Strain. Measure weight, then add equal parts of sugar to a container.
Deviation Distilling is located at 1821 Blake St #130, Denver. It is open Monday – Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday, 12 to 11 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 6 p.m.