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Art History Happy Hour - Figure With Meat Neat ‘N Greasy

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We’ve been nursing one helluva hangover since our last liquor laden recipe during the Yuletide, but worry not. We’ve found the perfect way to get you ready for a sauced-up summer. Not only that, but having a perfectly cooked steak is a by-product of the drink making process. Huzzah!

Without further ado, we call this post’s drink the Figure with Meat Whiskey Neat ‘N Greasy, the inspiration for which is none other than Figure with Meat by Francis Bacon, at the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago.

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Bet you feel a little drunk already after looking at him, huh?

Figure with Meat is one of 45 paintings Bacon made repurposing a Velazquez portrait of Pope Innocent X. This may seem a little harsh, but Bacon only picked up where other artists left off defacing the image of one of the most infamous popes to ever pontificate.

If it looks a little hardcore for your tastes, it’s only because Bacon painted this at a time when the darker side of existentialism is what pumped his creative juices. Oddly enough, though, despite its intensity, Bacon thought its power lay in the figure’s isolation. Which is why this is one of the paintings he glazed in glass: To provide the figure and the viewer a little personal space from one another.

One of its biggest public appearances in the last couple decades was when Jack Nicholson’s iteration of the Joker went all fangirl for it in the 1989 Batman. Like the painting or not, you gotta agree with the Joker that it’s got a certain power. An abattoir je ne sais quoi. A meat locker mystery.

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And, thus, the drink. The Neat ‘N Greasy takes Bacon’s approach by a sneak attack of tickling your olfactory with meat juice. It sounds insane, but stick with me. 

The method’s called fat washing for you pinky up types, and it’s grown a legit following by being featured in some swanky bars around the country. Before we get into specifics, let’s take a look at what it takes to fat wash some whiskey.


Figure with Meat Whiskey, Neat ‘N Greasy

  • 750 ml whiskey (full bottle)
  • 4 ounces grease

Mix, let stand for (at least) four hours. Chill in freezer for (at least) two hours. Filter the now disgusting sludge through coffee filters until clear. Serve in a glass without ice.

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Making The perfect Neat ‘N Greasy is best explained by a popular maxim: Know thyself. How much steak in your whiskey do you really want? For me: All the steak. So I almost tripled the mode amount grease in the recipes I read calling for 1.5 ounces of rendered meat fat. 

That’s just who I am. See that guy walking down the street double fisting steaks into his face chasm whilst en route to the nearest whiskey hole? That’s me (though, I do it with a lot more panache than the sentence gives me credit for). Here’s a couple photos of the process so you know you’re on the right track.

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This is the glorious by-product you’ll receive upon harvesting all that wonderful grease. I came up a little short on the amount of grease I was looking for, so I just put in some fat trimmings. Worked out roughly the same, but next time I wouldn’t use a filet.

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This is the whiskey in process. Yeah, it kind of looks like a murder scene. But it smells all buttery and a little sweet in a way that’s very off putting with the view. Whatever you do, DO NOT DRINK THIS. It’s a heart stopper.

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And ba-BAM. The finished product. You can see on the left that it’s perfectly clear and clearly delicious.

If you want to be a little conservative about your all natural steak flavor, just reduce the amount of fat going into that whiskey. One thing you DO NOT want to do is skimp out on the coffee filter step. 

Personally, I only use a French press at home for my caffeine fix, and was not at all interested in putting on pants to go to the store. So I thought just doubling up a couple sieves would work. It doesn’t work. Once the whiskey comes out of the freezer, it looks like a cross between cloudy beer and river water. Neither of which a whiskey should look like. 

The only way to clean up this toxic spill of lipids is with coffee filters. Also, if you don’t do this, you’re drinking straight up liquified fat in an alcohol syringe. So, for your health and the sanity of your loved ones, get some coffee filters.

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The result is drinking a whiskey that eats like a steak. Just like looking at Figure with Meat is looking at fine art that feels like a nightmare. Honestly, it’s one of the most interesting sips of whiskey I’ve ever had. It’s worth examining sip by sip.

Sniffing the Neat ‘N Greasy and… there’s something wrong. Not a present danger, just something off. The merging of the familiar and the unknown. Sip one. The steak grease leaves a charred, bloody flavor almost reminiscent of ocean brine. Like drowning in the tears of the god that created you. Sip two. Letting the drink settle on your palate, taking a moment to breathe, and the alcohol is oddly tamed, as the fires at Hell’s farthest wrung. The very purlieu of damnation. Sip three, too fast, and the liquor lashes your throat in retribution for trying to consume the knowledge that should be left to wiser philosophers. Sipping, over and again, until you’re light headed and crawling. Hoping to find the answer to questions unspoken. And then it’s gone. You’ve drank it all and there is no succor at the bottom of your glass. Just wonder stained by sulphur. And Bacon’s painting, maniacal and robed in carcasses, at the corner of your eye.

Overall, I give it an A-. You should give it a shot. Just remember to pick up your coffee filters.

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By Clayton

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Clayton Schuster

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