How to Make Barrel-aged Cocktails at Home
It’s always a great experience when a cocktail bar has barrel-aged cocktails ready to pour. It’s even better you can do it at home. Aging your own cocktails has been done since award-winning bartender and bar owner Jeffrey Morganthaler tried it nearly 20 years ago. Oak has such a profound impact on taste when aging a spirit fresh off its still, like whiskey. This same thing applies when aging a cocktail. A finished recipe takes on some of the characteristics of the barrel, which can lead to an even more well-rounded drink. Plus, having barrel-aged cocktails in your apartment is a really good conversation starter when friends come over.
Made and designed as replicas of large aging barrels found in distilleries, this 2 Liter Mini Barrel is constructed from American white oak wood and makes for the perfect home aging tool. Before you get going, be sure to prep and cure your barrel according to the instructions that come with it.
When choosing a cocktail to age, always go spirit-forward (like an old fashioned or Negroni) and be sure to avoid putting fresh juices or dairy in the barrel. The suggested time frame for aging your cocktail in a two-liter barrel is three weeks, but the beauty of doing this at home is you can experiment with the timeframe. Feel free to taste test after one week, and decide if you’d like to age it for longer. Once you’re happy with it, you can either drink it right away or strain it and store it in glass bottles in the refrigerator to stop the aging.
To get started, try the two-liter Greenpoint cocktail recipe below.
Greenpoint Cocktail Recipe
• 44 oz (5.5 cups) rye whiskey (We used FEW Spirits Rye Whiskey. Alternatively, Rittenhouse Rye is a great cost-effective option.)
• 11 ounces of Yellow Chartreuse
• 11 ounces of sweet vermouth (we used Dolin Rouge)
Combine your rye whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse, and sweet vermouth into the two-liter barrel. Store the barrel out of direct sunlight for up to four weeks. Then serve or save by straining the cocktail into glass bottles and storing in the refrigerator to keep chilled. When serving, pour three ounces over a large cube of ice and garnish with a lemon peel.