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BARREL AGING COCKTAILS – A D.I.Y. GUIDE

The process of aging a high-octane cocktail in a flavorful oak barrel imparts a complex and cohesive element, along with a woody undertone. As the alcohol interacts with the wood, something scientific (and magical) happens, flavorful compounds emerge in tannins and vanillins that mature as they age. The result is a pre-mixed cocktail with unique depth, perfect for a bar/restaurant or a home bartender. Memorable for a party or event, the process is not too complicated for the return on investment.  

The quality and alcohol content of the cocktail to be barrel aged must be high, and the output will be exceptional, imparting a mild oak flavor that mellows the alcohol and acidity. Spirits that are pot distilled have a unique character that is naturally enhanced by aging in an oak barrel. Barrels come in various sizes and can last for multiple uses if cared for properly.

So, get a barrel and follow the directions below.   

BARREL PREP

To prepare a new barrel for aging, there are a few things you’ll need to do. The barrel will be sanitary because the wood was heated to bend the staves into place. Fill the barrel with water to cause the wood swell and eliminate possible leaks (this could take several hours or a couple of days). If leaking persists, beeswax on the outside of the dry barrel will seal cracks. (Never put beeswax on the inside of the barrel, as it will contaminate the liquor on the inside).

After the swelling occurs, simply rinse the barrel of any sawdust. At this stage, measure the amount of liquid it holds to maximize the amount of product that fits inside for proportions.

The cocktail you choose to make should be sweetened only with liqueur. Sweetening agents (sugar, simple syrup, molasses or honey) or fresh ingredients (such as citrus juice) will oxidize or ferment, which would ruin the whole batch. Use bitters sparingly so that they don’t overpower the cocktail inside the barrel.

Combine the spirits.

Store the barrel in a dark, cool place. You’ll want to try a sip every few days. New barrels will take less time to age the contents. Once the cocktail has rested and tastes ready, strain into a clean glass container for storage. The barrel will then need to be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed with a Citric Acid wash (dissolve two teaspoons of citric acid in five gallons of water, swish mixture around for 5-10 minutes, flush thoroughly and refill). After using, the barrel should be stored filled with liquid, if not aging liquor, water that is replaced every two weeks.

RECIPES 

NOLET’S Silver Barrel Aged Negroni
1 part NOLET’S Silver Gin
1 part Sweet Vermouth
1 part Aperol

Batch ingredients together and pour into a drained, clean barrel. Allow resting for 2-3 weeks. Strain into a clean glass container to store.

Cocktail Prep: Pour 3 oz. into a mixing glass with ice. Stir then strain into a Coupe or double Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange twist.   

 

NOLET’S Silver Barrel Aged Martinez

2 parts NOLET’S Silver Gin
2 parts Sweet Vermouth
1 part Maraschino Liqueur
¼ part Angostura Bitters

Batch ingredients together and pour into drained, clean barrel. Allow resting for approximately 2-3 weeks (tasting every several days).

Cocktail Prep: Pour 3 oz. into a mixing glass with ice. Stir then strain into a Coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

 

NOLET’S Silver Barrel Aged Manhattan

2 parts NOLET’S Silver Gin
2 parts Sweet Vermouth
¼ part Orange Bitters

Batch ingredients together and pour into drained, clean barrel. Allow resting for approximately 2-3 weeks (tasting every several days).

Cocktail Prep: Pour 3 oz. into a mixing glass with ice. Stir then strain into a Coupe glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

 

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Nolet's ® Silver 47.6% alc./vol. (95.2 proof) & Nolet's ® Reserve 52.3% alc./vol. (104.6 proof) © 2019 imported by Nolet's US Distribution, Aliso Viejo, CA. Please Drink Responsibly.