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GreggJ

Barrel Aging Cocktails at Home. Anyone else doing this?

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tanstaafl2
On 9/3/2016 at 2:02 AM, Andre2885 said:

I wrote manhattan but I meant cosmo! Don't have a britta filter unfortuantely, not sure if its worth buying just to maybe save this lot. I diluted it down with another bottle of unaged citron vodka / cointreau, and it is already much better. Still probably a bit too oaky. I wonder what filtering actually does in this regard. In theory the barrel taste shouldn't be separable from the spirit should it, it is literally infused in to it?

 

Based on the ingredients I kinda figured it wasn't a Manhattan. That said you may not want to say you were aging a "Cosmo" on this website as that could severely damage your whiskey "cred"! But who am I to judge... :lol:

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Andre2885

Do you put much stock in the opinion that once it is taken out of the oak and left to sit in glass for a while, that it naturally turns a little less oaky?

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Andre2885
10 hours ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

Based on the ingredients I kinda figured it wasn't a Manhattan. That said you may not want to say you were aging a "Cosmo" on this website as that could severely damage your whiskey "cred"! But who am I to judge... :lol:

haha cosmos get a bad rep. Often they are poorly made, with sub par ingredients (you need proper 80 proof cointreau, not 40 proof or less triple sec), and often way too much cranberry juice is added. Made the right way its a nice drink with enough complexity to interest most brown spirit cocktail drinkers.

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tanstaafl2
8 hours ago, Andre2885 said:

Do you put much stock in the opinion that once it is taken out of the oak and left to sit in glass for a while, that it naturally turns a little less oaky?

 

That has not had much affect on other oaky spirits that I have noticed, limited though that may be as a strongly oaky bourbon is not my preferred profile.

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Lepisto

I got a barrel for Christmas, and came to this thread to read up on options and process.  Reading through this thread, it doesn't seem to mention aging Old Fashioned cocktails much.  Given that an Old Fashioned is basically whiskey, sugar and bitters, is it even worth aging?  Would dissolved sugar impact the barrel at all? 

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smokinjoe
25 minutes ago, Lepisto said:

I got a barrel for Christmas, and came to this thread to read up on options and process.  Reading through this thread, it doesn't seem to mention aging Old Fashioned cocktails much.  Given that an Old Fashioned is basically whiskey, sugar and bitters, is it even worth aging?  Would dissolved sugar impact the barrel at all? 

It must be fine, as just about any bar I go to with anything approaching a fashionable cocktail menu has a barrel aged OF on its menu.

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EarthQuake

I've been doing some experiments with 1L barrels, which I found on Amazon for about $36.

 

My favorite so far is a port-finished rye. I started with a bottle of Cockburns Port for 2-3 weeks, which resulted in a very heavily oaked port which isn't bad on its own.

 

Then I filled the barrel with a rye mix that was 2 parts Whistlepig 1, part Michters rye 1, part hudson Manhattan rye, and 1/2 part Elijah Craig 12 barrel proof for a bit of an extra kick. I left the blend in the barrel for about 1 week, which was perhaps 1 day too long as it was a bit over-oaked. These small 1L barrels can age quite quickly, especially when starting with spirits that already have a good deal of age on them. Thankfully, I kept some WhistlePig in reserve just in case this happened, and added it back to the blend which balanced things out quite nicely.

 

I've got a barrel full of Madeira going right now, and I plan to dump a bottle of High West Rendezvous in there to try and make my own version of High West's MWND.

 

I've also been trying to alternate spirits to pick up contrasting elements. For instance, after the port and rye, I filled that barrel with gin, and then I'll probably swap it out with something entirely different after the gin.

 

I've tried a couple experiments taking bourbons and rye that I don't really like, hoping that the barrel would do something magical to them and make them good. These experiments have been failures, while the barrel aging improved the whiskey in certain instances, it didn't go from bad to good. I've had much better luck starting with something I actually like.

 

Another batch I liked was more of a vatting situation than really aging. I put together a blend of Eagle Rare 10, Bookers, Four Roses Single Barrel and Hudson Manhattan Rye (I forget the ratios) and let them meld in a barrel for 4 days or so. What started as a pretty good blend came together even better after resting in the barrel for a bit.

 

I've been trying to move the barrels between warm and cool areas of the house to promote expansion and contraction of the wood, this seems to speed up the aging process.

 

 

Edited by EarthQuake

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garbanzobean

I have a 2 liter barrel (I think?) that was given to me as a gift.  Right now I have some sherry in there.  It's been close to a month, and I'll probably keep it in there another 2-3 weeks at a minimum.  Really just using the sherry to season the barrel.  I assume it is going to taste pretty awful when it comes out of there.

 

In general, it seems as though using one of these barrels to try to improve spirits doesn't work very well, so I'm trying to decide between giving Ardbeg 10/similar peat bomb a sherry finish and barrel aging a cocktail.  Definitely leaning toward the former, then the latter.

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EarthQuake
3 hours ago, garbanzobean said:

I have a 2 liter barrel (I think?) that was given to me as a gift.  Right now I have some sherry in there.  It's been close to a month, and I'll probably keep it in there another 2-3 weeks at a minimum.  Really just using the sherry to season the barrel.  I assume it is going to taste pretty awful when it comes out of there.

 

In general, it seems as though using one of these barrels to try to improve spirits doesn't work very well, so I'm trying to decide between giving Ardbeg 10/similar peat bomb a sherry finish and barrel aging a cocktail.  Definitely leaning toward the former, then the latter.

 

Yes, I think in general it's a lot easier to add something different to a base spirit by seasoning it with something else first, than it is to simply try and improve a spirit with these barrels.

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garbanzobean
On 2/26/2017 at 1:54 PM, garbanzobean said:

I have a 2 liter barrel (I think?) that was given to me as a gift.  Right now I have some sherry in there.  It's been close to a month, and I'll probably keep it in there another 2-3 weeks at a minimum.  Really just using the sherry to season the barrel.  I assume it is going to taste pretty awful when it comes out of there.

 

In general, it seems as though using one of these barrels to try to improve spirits doesn't work very well, so I'm trying to decide between giving Ardbeg 10/similar peat bomb a sherry finish and barrel aging a cocktail.  Definitely leaning toward the former, then the latter.

Just an update . . . I still haven't decided what to put in the barrel.  I did decide specifically to try for a cream sherry finish, so I bought a couple bottles of the $7 special and topped up my cask, which was down to about half a liter of liquid.  One thing is for sure: whatever I put in there is getting sherried right in the face

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