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Barrel aging can tame harsh or bitter elements of a spirit and round it out. It can give the liquor a more smooth and more unified taste in barrel-aged cocktail recipes. There are many ways you can create barrel-aged cocktails. Let’s explore some classic barrel-aged cocktail recipes you can make at home.
What Are Barrel-Aged Cocktails?
Barrel-aged cocktails are mixed drinks that you let mature and age over time in a wooden barrel. Like when you age a whiskey or other liquor, the aging process changes the drink’s flavor profile.
When a cocktail ages in a barrel, the subtleties of a drink blend to form a cohesive cocktail. The aromas of a wooden barrel absorb the cocktail and give it a distinct taste. The aging process of a cocktail can take a few months, but it’s definitely worth the wait.
The Barrel-Aging Process
Maturation consists of three steps in barrel-aging cocktails. Extraction is the first step in the maturation process, where the alcohol inside the barrel absorbs flavor and color. Subtraction or infusion makes the contents of the barrel smoother by supporting the chemical reaction of the alcohol and the barrel.
Oxidation or oxygenation concludes the process by reacting with the air in the barrel and producing new smells, rounding out flavors and blending the contents beautifully. Here are some barrel-aged cocktails you might want to try to experience the harmonious blend of the maturation process.
1. Barrel-Aged Sazerac
To make a barrel-aged Sazerac, you’ll need a one-liter wooden barrel, rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters and simple syrup. To prepare a new barrel, fill it with water and let it stand for a day or two until it’s watertight.
Fill the barrel with 28 ounces of rye whiskey, three ounces of absinthe, ¾ ounces of bitters and one and a half ounces of simple syrup. Cork your barrel and let it sit for two to three weeks and it’s ready!
2. Barrel-Aged Negroni
A Negroni consists of 11 ounces of gin, 11 ounces of sweet vermouth and 11 ounces of Campari. Ensure that your one-liter barrel is ready, and add your ingredients with a funnel. Taste your mixture about once a week to test the flavor.
Your drink should have a rounded-out flavor that isn’t too oaky tasting. It should take about a month for your barrel-aged negroni to be ready. Once it’s ready to serve, you’ll want to garnish it with an orange twist.
3. Barrel-Aged Manhattan
For a barrel-aged spin on the classic manhattan cocktail, you’ll need a two-liter barrel. Get a 750ml bottle of bourbon and 375ml of vermouth, 12ml of Angostura bitters and a jar of bourbon soaked cherries.
Add all of the ingredients into the barrel besides the cherries, which you will use as a garnish when your manhattan is ready. Your barrel-aged manhattan will be ready to go in six to eight weeks, but you can taste it once a week until it reaches your desired flavor. Give your barrel a quarter turn each week.
4. Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned
An old-fashioned is one of the most sophisticated whiskey cocktails–it’s one for the ages. This timeless classic is one of the best bourbon cocktails. You can use an orange twist, lemon peel or a cherry as a garnish when it’s ready to serve.
You only need three ingredients for a barrel-aged old fashioned–simple syrup, bitters and your choice of whiskey. In your one-liter barrel, you’ll add 25 ounces of bourbon, 2.75 ounces of simple syrup and five teaspoons of Peychaud’s bitters. This concoction can age for a week or a month based on your flavor preference. Test it each week until you’re satisfied with the taste and ready to indulge!
Barrel Aged Cocktails
Barrel-aged cocktails are an excellent way to spice up your mixologist skills. These barrel-aged cocktail recipes are a hit year-round, no matter the weather.