How To: Sage Butter Martini

Sage Butter Fat Wash Recipe

One simple step introduces both flavor and body to your cocktail.

Herbs and cocktails go way back. Whether muddled to order, infused pre-service into cheater bottles, or macerated during the production process, these savory and aromatic MVP’s have long influenced what and how we drink. In fact, new research points to evidence of herbal infusions into wine in Egypt up to 5,000 years ago.

Fat washing has a shorter arc. It emerged as a technique in the East Village cocktail scene less than 20 year ago, thanks to Don Lee’s creativity…and an abundance of country ham.

Historically, these techniques have had their own lanes, but contemporary bartenders are exploring a formula tweak: infusing the fat rather than the spirit directly. This strategic merging allows for novel flavor combinations and textural complexity.

The best part? This technique can be adjusted seasonally to take advantage of whatever is available at the farmers market!

Read on to learn how to make herb-infused butter, and how to use it in a delicious Dirty Martini recipe.

WATCH NOW: Savory Dirty Martini with Brown Butter Sage

How to Make Sage Brown Butter

  • Step 1: In a small saute pan, brown 1/2 stick of Unsalted Butter.
    • Keep the Butter moving constantly on medium heat to cook the milk solids without blackening them.
  • Step 2: Add 4 fresh Sage leaves, and remove from heat. Allow Sage to continue infusing to taste.
  • Step 3: In a freezer safe container, add 10 oz SKYY Vodka per half-stick of Sage Brown Butter.
    • Stir well to incorporate and allow to sit before placing in freezer.
  • Step 4. Freeze overnight and strain. The butter should have re-congealed and separate easily. You can use a coffee filter, cheese cloth, etc.
    • If batch does not run clear, strain again.
  • Step 5: Store in a non-reactive container. Keep refrigerated.
Add your fat to your spirit and allow to infuse before freezing to separate.

Congratulations, now you have a delicious batch of Sage Brown Butter-washed Vodka. What should you do with it? Turn it into a herbaceous Dirty Martini riff, of course.

Brown Butter Sage Martini Recipe

Recipe from Jena Ellenwood


  • 2 Parts Sage Brown Butter SKYY Vodka
  • .75 Parts Vermouth Di Torino Extra Dry
  • .25 Parts Pickled Onion Brine


  • Step 1: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled.
  • Step 2: Strain into a chilled Coupe or Cocktail glass.
  • Step 3: Garnish with a Sage leaf.
Photos of browning butter, sage infusion, and the final cocktail.

Curious about technique? Explore our class recordings on Frozen Drinks, Clarified Milk Punches, and Draft Cocktails.

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