My dad has a few wine barrels in his basement that he used to use to make homemade wine. I have been debating whether or not to attempt making my own wine in these barrels, but after hearing about barrel-aged cocktails I may have stumbled upon another project to try first!
Barrel-aging cocktails infuses vanilla, caramel and oak flavors subtly into the drink. I think it would be very interesting to taste first-hand on a smaller scale how wood and air can change the cocktail by trying samples of the drink each week. People who have barrel-aged cocktails explain the process as softening the harsh edges, blending the flavors more harmoniously and adding layers of flavor.
Some cocktails that are known to work well being barrel-aged include Manhattans, Gin Martinis, Negronis, Chrysanthemums, El Presidentes and Bamboos. I am still debating what type of drink I want to try the first round. I am also thinking that a smaller, one liter barrel might work much better than a large wine barrel. Are there any other cocktails that you think might work well with this process?
* If the barrel is new and dry inside, fill it with water and let stand until watertight (about 24 hours) and drain.
* Fill the barrel with all of the liquid ingredients needed for your cocktail, using a funnel.
* Age the cocktail until it has taken on a softer, rounded but not overly oaky flavor (about 1 month). Taste a sample once a week to ensure that you are not letting it age too long.
* Strain the cocktail through a coffee filter-lined funnel into a glass container.
* If you age a new cocktail in the barrel after a previous one, it may pick up on some of the flavor from the first cocktail aged in the barrel. This can be a fun thing to play around with while aging drinks!
* Store until you are able to enjoy!