It takes a second to get past the words duck fat when Brandon Phillips, Senior Executive Bar Director at The Duck Inn in Chicago, mentions his restaurant's cognac cocktail that's made with the stuff. It just sounds a little unnatural to the ears at first. Duck fat on something like french fries? Yeah, that sounds about right. But drinking it just doesn't initially sound appealing. But then you find yourself sipping a Duck Out after a hearty meal, and the silky, almost sweet cocktail with the buttery mouthfeel, and all prior reservations go flying out the window. Suddenly you think, "Holy crap, this is a delicious drink."
"I thought back to the first time I had ever had foie gras," Phillips says about the cocktail's origins. "My good friend, and then Executive Chef of Vivre, Bobby Reynaud, seared off a small piece and dressed it with fresh blackberries and a quick blackberry reduction," and he'd been searching out a way to recapture that particular flavor in a drink ever since. The Duck Out is what he finally came up with, and the results will surprise you.
The Duck Out
- 2 oz duck fat washed Park VS cognac
- .5 oz Giffard crème de mure
- .5 oz Chinese five-spice syrup
- .75 oz Lustau Manzanilla papirusa sherry
To make duck fat washed Park VS cognac
- 1 750 ml bottle Park VS cognac
- 2 oz rendered duck fat
- Heat the duck fat until it has completely liquefied, and set aside.
- Pour entire bottle of cognac into a mason jar.
- Allow the fat to cool to the point where it is no longer hot but is still in liquid form, and pour into the mason jar along with the cognac. Screw the lid on the jar tightly and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Allow the jar to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, periodically shaking it.
- After 2 hours, place jar in the freezer over night.
- The next day, strain contents of the jar through cheesecloth and allow to return to room temperature.
- Once Cognac has returned to room temperature, strain through two coffee filters, and rebottle.
To make five-spice syrup
- 15 grams star anise
- 8 grams fennel seed
- 8 grams Szechuan peppercorn
- 8 grams clove
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 5 pinches salt
- 3 pinches cayenne pepper
- 48 oz turbinado sugar
- 32 oz honey
- 80 oz water
- Add all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Remove from the heat, and allow to steep for 45 minutes. Strain mixture through cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator.
To build the cocktail
- Build all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass and stir for about 20 seconds.
- Using a julep strainer, strain the cocktail into a snifter, and serve.