Barrel Aging Drinks

No OpenNMS content, but since at least one of my three readers is into home brewing I thought this might be of interest. While I love the chemistry behind home brewing, my waistline could never survive it.

I travel a lot for my job, which means I’m lucky enough to eat and drink in nice restaurants (the downside is that I’ve had more than my share of meals purchased from convenience stores as well – the joys of travel). One thing I’ve seen over the last year or so is a resurgence in the art of the cocktail.

I’m not talking about a rum and Coke or a seven and seven. I’m talking about drinks that take time to prepare, like most of the cocktail menu a the bluezoo restaurant in Orlando. Some good friends of mine introduced me to that place, and the General Manager there has been kind enough to share with me some of the recipes, usually involving infusions, shrubs and/or foams.

One thing they do at bluezoo is barrel age cocktails to create a much richer, complex flavor. I’ve always been interested in trying that, so when I read an article by David Lebovitz about a barrel aged Vieux CarrĂ© I decided it was time.

I contacted my friend at bluezoo who sent me to Thousand Oaks Barrel Co., and I dutifully ordered a 2L oak barrel for this project.

The barrel is oak that’s charred on the inside, and while the barrel itself seems well built, I’m not happy with the little spigot. You have to assemble it yourself, but even though I was very careful, the handle came off. I’ve attempted to glue it back on, but I might end up using pliers to turn it. A little disappointing since otherwise it looks pretty cute.

In any case, I was now ready to assemble my Vieux CarrĂ©. I had my Canadian Club (per the recipe), a decent Cognac and the only Sweet Vermouth I could find in Pittsboro. I also had the required Peychaud’s bitters via Amazon.

Since it was a 2L barrel, I decided to go with 600ml of each spirit and a teaspoon and a half of bitters. Once done I placed it out of the way on the bar.

Now all I have to do is wait 6-8 weeks. I believe I’ll need to decant the drink once it is done as too much aging is not a good thing, but I plan to experiment a bit with it.