One of the gifts I’m giving to a family member this Christmas is a 2L charred American Oak cocktail aging barrel.
Here are 5 cocktail recipe options I scaled up to 2L to go along with the barrel. All of these cocktails age very well. You can’t go wrong with any of them!
One thing to note about these recipes: I only age the liquor in the barrel. I add sugars/sweeteners and bitters directly to the glass before mixing in the aged liquor for two reasons: 1) Sugars don’t really mix in or age well, and they have a shorter shelf life. 2) Bitters don’t scale up linearly like the liquor does.
I bottled my barrel aged Manhattans so that I can move on to aging the next thing: Vieux Carré. It is a classic New Orleans cocktail named after the French name for the Old Square (the French Quarter.)
At its core, the Vieux Carré is a Manhattan variation. The addition of cognac makes it slighly sweeter with a deeper caramel and oak flavor. Two different varieties of bitters and the herbal Benedictine cut the sweetness of the cognac and vermouth to give it dimension. If you use a high proof rye, this is a boozy cocktail that you’ll want to sip.
I had a three week aged Vieux Carre at Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry last winter and loved it. The individual components seem to take on aging well, so I think it will be a great follow-up to the Manhattans I did earlier in the year.
Here is the recipe for a single drink:
Here is how I’m scaling it for my barrel and what I’m using:
- 1 bottle (25.36 oz) of Rittenhouse Rye. This is my favorite rye. It is pretty strong at 100 proof.
- 1 bottle (25.36 oz) of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. None better!
- 1 bottle (25.36 oz) of Darvelle Freres VSOP. This is a mid-range French brandy with lots of caramel and spice aromas. Great for mixing.
- 3 oz of Benedictine
Just like with the Manhattan, I’m not adding the bitters directly to the barrel. I’ll put them in the mixing glass with the ice and then pour in the liquor from the tap.
I plan on aging this for two months. While I’m patiently waiting for it to age, I’ll probably make another batch of maraschino cherries, with a more syrupy liquid this time so that they are closer to Luxardo cherries. I’ll let you know how it goes!