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jphysc

Do-it-yourself Barrel Aging

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Has anyone had any experience with DIY barrel aging cocktails? Its seems like a complex, but fun project. My questions are:

1. What is needed in order to barrel age cocktails?

2. What are some good cocktails that highlight the before and after?

Thanks! :)

Josh

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I'm just starting on this adventure myself. I can't vouch for the results, but the well-respected bartender who sold us our barrels recommended we start with the Coopers Cocktail on her site. I tried one and found the Fernet too strong for my taste so I cut its proportion in half. I'm aging a a batch of Gin Bijou as well. Both recipes are available on her site: www.babybarrels.com

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would be kinda tough for me ,as my wooden barrel is from the 1930'and has been only used to make vinegar in, works every time,in fact I have a batch that I have to take out tomorrow...

Bud

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I've had great success with the kit I found here

http://tuthilltown.gostorego.com/barrels/barrel-aged-cocktail-kit.html

What I like is that you can experiment with a relatively small sample without the risk of wasting a lot of alcohol.

So far, I tried

Negroni - loved it, toned down the sharp edge and seemed to "warm" it up some. Much rounder flavor.

Rye Manhattan - deepened the flavor, alcohol seems more in balance.

Vesper - Not so good, the char seemed to interfere with the cicchi americano that I used instead of Lillet Blanc, or maybe I aged it too long.

Currently aging another batch of Negroni, still have the Manhattan seeing how extended age will affect it and also trying a very Wet Martini (2/3 Plymouth gin & 1/3 vermouth, orange bitters)

Future plans include

Brooklyn - think I like the effect on sweet vermouth rather than dry.

Gerry

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Obviously it's not quite the same thing, but... There is the technique Jeffrey Morgenthaler has been playing with where you overnight 'age' the cocktail in an isi whip and some whisky barrel wood chips, it's on YouTube somewhere. Other than that, I'd look into finding a half gallon barrel, but I don't know how common those are in commercial booze aging.

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Has anyone tried barrel-aging a batch of Toby Maloney's Negroni Tredici, by any chance?

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We're doing a barrel aging program at TRG using used bourbon, rye, & wheat barrels from Reservoir Distillery here in Richmond. Our first ones are a negroni and Widows Kiss.


John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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Has anyone tried barrel-aging a batch of Toby Maloney's Negroni Tredici, by any chance?

In case anyone else was wondering...

  • 2 oz Tanqueray gin
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Campari
  • 1/4 Cynar
  • 13 drops Regans' orange bitters
  • Lemon pigtail twist
  • Like 1

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Has anyone tried barrel-aging a batch of Toby Maloney's Negroni Tredici, by any chance?

In case anyone else was wondering...

  • 2 oz Tanqueray gin
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Campari
  • 1/4 Cynar
  • 13 drops Regans' orange bitters
  • Lemon pigtail twist

Ah, yes: sorry about that.

So, I've got 2 liters of this stuff aging in a medium-charred oak barrel that I first used to age a batch of Rittenhouse BIB/Carpano Antica Manhattans.

The Manhattans came out with their edges nicely smoothed, and with faint oak undertones (some smoke, heightened vanilla, some added tannicity [tannicness?]). I hadn't cured the barrel in any sort of fortified wine first, though, so I think the effects were likely more muted than, say, Morgenthaler's Manhattans in the Madeira-treated barrel.

Now that the barrel has been steeped in Manhattans, though, it seemed perfectly set up for Tobey's Negroni recipe. I've been sampling it every couple days, and I think it's shaping up nicely. I was posting mainly to see if folks thought it'd be a waste of money and time, but I'm coming to the conclusion that it'll have been neither.

The question is what to age next. I was sort of playing with the idea of aging the alcohol base of rogue beta cocktail's Black Cat:

1.00 ounces mezcal (Chichicapa recommended; I've used Vida)

0.75 ounces Lustau Dry Amontillado Sherry

0.75 ounces Punt E Mes

0.50 ounces Hayman's Old Tom Gin

0.50 ounces Ransom Old Tom Gin

(For each drink, 3.5 ounces of the aged ingredients would be mixed with the recipe-specified grapefruit peel muddled in cane syrup.)

My concern is that the barrel-aging might actually wipe out the great strength of the cocktail: the distinct, phased mix of aroma and flavors you get while sipping it. Maybe this is a drink that doesn't want its edges smoothed, and its essence unified? Thoughts?


Edited by Snark (log)

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i keep meaning to write a post about the speculative science of barrel aging, glass aging, and just plain old batching based on what i've learn from academic journal articles. unfortunately i'm not confident in understanding it well enough. weird stuff happens and the chemistry is about as complex as chemistry can get. there is also strange sensory science on top of the chemistry.

i think that a lot of the smoothed over effects people are getting from their barrel aging experiments are not so much from the barrel as just from batching. for example if i mixed whiskey and vermouth and bitters, quickly stirred it warm and then divided it in two and tested it with a hydrometer the sugar contents would be so even you couldn't detect a difference. but other tiny aromatic compounds would be very slowly coming to equilibrium and strangely enough we can vaguely feel that slight degree of in-homogeneity. some sort of micro-emulsion/macro-emulsion phenomenon exits that we can detect and which influences how we perceive the drink. things also start reacting based on changes in pH when ingredients are combined and averaged together. increasing alcohol content by averaging something like whiskey into vermouth also influences reactions and equilibriums that exist within ingredients.

i suggest people experimenting with barrels should also put whatever they are aging in a glass canning jar alongside the barrel as a sort of control.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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What happens if you mix the smoothed-over cocktail with small quantities of the original, fresh ingredients?

That's a good question. I haven't tried it with the Manhattan (largely because it's so delicious as-is), but I'll definitely try it with both that and the Negroni Tredici (once it's out of the barrel).

And maybe that'll tell me whether the rogue beta Black Cat would be worth trying.

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i suggest people experimenting with barrels should also put whatever they are aging in a glass canning jar alongside the barrel as a sort of control.

This is an excellent idea, as well. Too late for my Mahattan and Negroni Tredici batches, but I'll try it out for whatever I age next, and report back on the results.

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Obviously it's not quite the same thing, but... There is the technique Jeffrey Morgenthaler has been playing with where you overnight 'age' the cocktail in an isi whip and some whisky barrel wood chips, it's on YouTube somewhere. Other than that, I'd look into finding a half gallon barrel, but I don't know how common those are in commercial booze aging.

Very late reply, but I stumbled on the same technique when first playing with isi whipper cavitation a couple of years back - http://afeastforthesenses.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/over-a-barrel/. It works surprisingly well, though obviously there are likely some subtle, long-term chemical reactions that you don't immediately replicate.


restaurant, private catering, consultancy
feast for the senses / blog

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