Published in Washington City Paper
The Drink: Deer in the Headlights
Where to Get It: Fiola, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; (202) 628-2888; fioladc.com
What It Is: A cocktail with venison fat-washed rye whiskey, Averna Amaro, and The Bitter Truth EXR herbal liqueur. It’s the color of dark aged leather.
How It’s Made: After Fiola chefs cook venison for the dinner menu, they set aside the rendered fat. Bar manager Jeff Faile then combines the fat with Rittenhouse Rye and lets it sit at room temperature for a few hours. He freezes the mixture overnight, then skims off the excess fat and passes the liquid through a cheesecloth.
What It Tastes Like: It starts off with a burst of intense rye and caramel, then coasts back slowly into a smoothness that coats the tongue. Any taste of venison is subtle.
Story Behind the Drink: Faile says he came up with the name before the drink. He’d seen liquors fat-washed with bacon. “I wanted to do a more eccentric version,” he says. “We have access to the venison here, so I thought, ‘why not?’” Last year, Fiola served a pine-smoked venison, so Faile thought the venison-infused whiskey would pair nicely with The Bitter Truth EXR, which has pine notes. The sweet caramel and citrus flavors of the Averna Amaro soften it up a bit.
How to Drink It: “It’s one of the heavier cocktails I’ve ever tasted,” Faile says. One a night is more than enough. Though it stands best on its own, Faile says you could also sip it alongside a venison dish. It’s available at Fiola now through March.
Photo courtesy of Fiola