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GreggJ

Barrel Aging Cocktails at Home. Anyone else doing this?

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GreggJ

I recently got my mini 2L barrel and have been enjoying barrel aged manhattans.

The juice has been in the barrel about 15 days and is absolutely delicious. As I drink, I have been refilling and tweaking it to taste. The original mix used a 4-1-3 dashes (Jeffersons Rye, Noilly Pratt Rouge, Peychards). As it ages I have put in a touch of Solerno Blood Orange (very small amount), Kicked it up with small amounts of OWA 107 and a little Woodford reserve to round it out a little. I have been doing this along with replenishing the Jeffersons, NP and Peychards as space allows. I gotta say IMHO the barrel aging and the slight modifications have really brought out something special.

I am thinking I will leave it in the barrel another week or two and then bottle in glass and move on to another recipe. I am thinking Negroni's or Aged Margarita's (Tequila and Grand Marnier only). Haven't decided yet. I have to say I am really liking the mini barrel and experimenting with these aged cocktails.

Anyone else playing around with a Mini Barrels? If so any reco's on recipes?

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Trey Manthey

I found the barrel pretty useless for aging bourbon, so I keep a batch of Negronis going in my 2L barrel. I use equal parts Martin Miller's Westbourne gin, Carpano Antica, and either Campari or Gran Classico amaro (I alternate between them so I get a mixture). Once this batch runs out I might switch to Boulevardiers or Cocktail a la Louisiane.

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wadewood

I also had pretty poor results with my 5l barrel an aging bourbon. So, I'm aging soy sauce; filled it last April.

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GreggJ

I heard that about aging bourbon so I did not even bother with the White Dog and went straight to the Manhattans and think it will only be used for aging cocktails.

I went to a high end restaurant a few weeks back and had a 30day Barrel aged Manhattan, They made it with Whistle Pig Rye, Carpano Antica and an unidentified bitters. This stuff was amazing and prompted my Barrel purchase shortly after. To this point I have really enjoyed the results from my own Manhattan concoction. I am thinking Negroni's will be next.

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rndenks

My dad bought me a 3L barrel probably 7 years ago while on a business trip to Mexico. He had tried some aged tequila out of a similar barrel, and liked it so much he thought I would enjoy aging my own tequila. I never actually got around to aging any in mine, but he aged some very good straight tequila in his. I stumbled upon the thread about this here on SB, and it dawned on me that I could unpack my barrel and get aging.

Last weekend I bottled my first batch of Manhattans. I used a ratio of 2:1:1 dash, of Makers Mark, Martini Rossi, Angostura Bitters. They were in the barrel for 12 days, and I bottled it because it was getting a strong “oak” flavor. It seems much smoother than a freshly made Manhattan. However, I did buy some more MM to taste the aged version head-to-head with the a freshly made cocktail, but came down with a bad cold before I could do the comparison. Maybe this weekend.

I plan on continuing my aging and trying different bourbons, ryes, bitters and ratios. I picked up some 375 ml bottles and tasting corks from a local home brew store to bottle the cocktails. I chose the smaller bottles because they were small enough that I could take one or two with me to a party, give one to my dad, etc. Also I plan to save one or two from each batch so down the road I can do a big tasting to compare all the batches. What a glorious day that will be!!!

Next batch will likely be FR Yellow Label or Rittenhouse (if I can find any). I would like to also try some blood orange bitters.

Happy Aging!

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squire

Would appreciate some tasting notes as you journey along.

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rndenks
Would appreciate some tasting notes as you journey along.

Since you asked Squire...I will do a tasting comparing my aged Manhattans to a freshly made one this weekend. Maybe even post some pictures.

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Bourbon Boiler

4:2:2:1

Home-aged bourbon: store-bought apple brandy: vermouth: bitters made a great manhattan. (I recomend heavy bitters for those trying this.)

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Ejmharris

I got a barrel kit from TPS about 18 months ago. I aged a rye white dig and it sucked. Aged a MBR black dog and it sucked. I then aged a manhattan and it was awesome. Used 3-1-6 dashes of bitters. It was fantastic!!!! Bourbon was 1849.

Mike

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MarkRuck

I got a 3L barrel a couple of months ago. I had read the dismal results of trying to age white dog in these small barrels, so I went straight to Manhattans. I used 2:1 Larceny and Martini sweet vermouth, but I over bittered my first batch. Second batch, again 2:1 Larceny:Martini easy on the bitters, and it was much better. The aging process made the cocktail was much smoother, but all of the flavors seemed to have had the edges rounded off.

I can report that I prefer a fresh Manhattan to an aged version so far. I like the 'bite' of the fresh cocktail. I get much more of the whiskey flavor from the fresh version.

I will continue to experiment however. Next I am going to start with a little higher proof whiskey - perhaps an OWA 107 to see if I can't keep some of the 'bite' that I enjoy.

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squire

Now I can see a reason for those barrels, 'Honey, I've got to drink them up or they'll go off'.

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compliance

Do you think the barrel is interacting with the Manhattan at all or is it the equivalent of aging in a mason jar (albeit more fun)? This will be my next experiment after the rock and rye is done, but I might just skip buying the barrel.

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rndenks

I think it interacts with the barrel. I could taste a very distinct oak taste that I have never tasted in Makers Mark. It also smooths out the drink.

I was unable to complete my tasting comparing my aged manhattans vs. fresh made ones. Still can't kick this cold and I want to give a fair review. I will try one evening this week.

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Bourbon Boiler
Do you think the barrel is interacting with the Manhattan at all or is it the equivalent of aging in a mason jar (albeit more fun)? This will be my next experiment after the rock and rye is done, but I might just skip buying the barrel.

I have nothing specific to document this, but I sense the oak does wonders for the vermouth.

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z327

I have two 1L barrels. First one filled with BT White after infusing with a Madagascar vanilla bean for a week. Then barreled for six months. In and out of the house to get some serious Texas heat. Came out of the barrel at 150 proof and the angels took 35%. Mellowed it down to 120 proof. It's a has a great deep dark color. Flavor wise not too complex, strong woodsy taste is balanced well with a strong vanilla and caramel note. Happy with my first attempt.

2nd barrel got a rye white dog infused with cinnamon and nutmeg for a week before entering the barrel. Only four months when I decided to bottle it. Again over 150 proof but only 20% loss. Proofed downed to 110. Nice color, very spicy, real bold mouthful of flavors and creamy too. Again pleased with the result. But I am a novice. I know I like both better than most bottom shelf whiskey's.

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Tony

Great stuff in here. Any thoughts on good places to get barrels? Is there a book or website that talks about the ways to do this? recipes? time in barrel and such?

Best regards, Tony

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squire

I doubt I'll ever try such an experiment but I understand the appeal.

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sailor22

How do the Manhattans you guys are aging compare to the High West barrel aged Manhattan? Anyone do a side by side taste comparo? I would expect the capability to tweak to you own personal taste preference would be a huge plus for dong it at home.

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rndenks

I finally had time to sit down this weekend for a head-to-head tasting of my barrel aged Manhattans up against a freshly made Manhattan of the same recipe. The best part was that I did this with my Dad just prior to enjoying a fine cigar and enjoying some short lived but much needed spring weather in Ohio. That is what Easter is all about right…well partially I guess.

The recipe I used was 2:1:1 dash using Makers Mark, Martin Rossi Sweet Vermouth and Angostura bitters. The aged batch was done in my 3L charred oak barrel for 12 days, and then bottled in several 375 ml glass bottles. Here is what I found.

Nose: The aged Manhattan had a definite distinct oak note with nearly no alcohol undertone compared to the fresh. The fresh cocktail did have sort of “crisp” smell, but you could pick a part the different pieces.

Taste: On the aged version the oak hits hard up front…really noticeable, not unpleasant, but quickly trails off into a super smooth and blended taste. The fresh again was “crisp” almost refreshing taste. It was completely obvious as to which was which.

Finish: You could easily pull apart the pieces (bourbon, vermouth and bitters) in the fresh Manhattan. The aged cocktail was tougher to do that because it almost seemed to be “one” component. Also the aged Manhattan had a very slight oaky finish. It did have an almost “dry” taste, but not to the point that is was unpleasant. I do not know if that is the tannins from the oak, but it was definitely unique to the aged version.

My verdict: They were both good, and I think they both have their place. The comparison that keeps coming to mind is “sweet vs. savory”, but it is more crisp vs. smooth. The aged Manhattan is so smooth and complex that it reminds of the enjoyment of a good steak right off the grill. It is complex enough to enjoy on its own, and really savor the complexity. While the fresh Manhattan had that crispness that would be very refreshing on warm summer day, or could serve a complimentary roll at a meal.

I plan to continue to experiment with barrel aging Manhattans by playing with the recipe, age, etc. I thinking for my next batch to try FR Yellow and maybe blood orange bitters. I would like to hold back one bottle per batch for comparing the recipes down the road.

There you are. I would love to hear if anyone else has completed similar tastings.

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Beer&Bourbon

A number of bars downtown have been aging cocktails - mostly manhattans. I've really enjoyed how integrated the flavors are. It looks like some of you really pick up on the additional oak character, but I do wonder what differences would be noted between a mason jar aged manhattan vs. barrel-aged manhattan. I don't have a barrel so I encourage someone out there to try this and report back. If I get a small barrel, I'll post here with findings.

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rndenks
A number of bars downtown have been aging cocktails - mostly manhattans. I've really enjoyed how integrated the flavors are. It looks like some of you really pick up on the additional oak character, but I do wonder what differences would be noted between a mason jar aged manhattan vs. barrel-aged manhattan. I don't have a barrel so I encourage someone out there to try this and report back. If I get a small barrel, I'll post here with findings.

In the name of science B&B, I will allocate a small portion of my next batch to jar. I will age that as long as I do the stuff in the barrel. I will happily report back with my findings whenever get around to my next batch.

Unless we hear back from others first regarding aging in a jar.

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Beer&Bourbon

Awesome. I'm looking forward to how this turns out. I'll use these results to determine if I should invest in a barrel or just age in a mason jar. I realize that I already have mason jars so I'm going to start a batch this weekend aged for different lengths of time to determine if that itself makes any difference. I'll report back when this experiment is complete. Cheers!

Roger

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jsbull
Great stuff in here. Any thoughts on good places to get barrels? Is there a book or website that talks about the ways to do this? recipes? time in barrel and such?

Best regards, Tony

I have only aged some home made corn based lightning, but I used a 2L barrel from http://oakbarrelsltd.com. It is very well made, their service is good and their instructions are easy to follow (including suggested aging times). I did make the mistake of taking the whisky out, waiting a couple of weeks and deciding to put it back in. I didn't re-swell the barrel and lost about 300ml through the barrel before I could get the rest back in the bottle. I filled it with water to swell it again, emptied that out and put the whisky back in there. It worked great again. I have noticed that they are only useful for a couple of runs. They lose that strong oak influence with each batch, as you would probably expect.

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bigtoys

Gonna order a barrel, too, but thought I'd start small. Ordered a couple of bottles and inserts. Unfortunately, I'm working 2 weeks from now and also busy the next, so I'm not gonna be able to experiment just yet. Maybe I'll start something the week I'm working for 2 weeks later.

8a452d3d-67cd-4805-9104-df0e831222ba_zps68d081d7.jpg

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Ejmharris
Gonna order a barrel, too, but thought I'd start small. Ordered a couple of bottles and inserts. Unfortunately, I'm working 2 weeks from now and also busy the next, so I'm not gonna be able to experiment just yet. Maybe I'll start something the week I'm working for 2 weeks later.

8a452d3d-67cd-4805-9104-df0e831222ba_zps68d081d7.jpg

I bought the Wasmunds kit to age a rye a couple of years ago. That experiment never amounted to anything because BT said, small barrels makes lousy whiskey. Anyway, I did use it last year to age a Manhattan. It was fantastic. I have a Barton BIB manhattan concoction in it right now. Tasted it last night after two weeks and it isn't quite ready yet. Will probably give it another couple of weeks and try it again. I may move it outside to the garage to allow it to cycle a little more but I don't want a ton of evaporation.

Mike

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