The Hooch Life

Better with Age: 5 Barrel-Aged Cocktail Recipes

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Photo by Nick Stevens

So, you’ve decided to age your own cocktail at home, but can’t quite make up your mind about a recipe. The options are almost limitless, but there are some cocktails that work better than others for barrel aging. Here are our favorite recipes from bartenders around the country (ingredient amounts converted for use with 2-liter barrel).

Tequila Negroni

The Hooch Life chose this recipe for our own barrel-aged cocktail. Read this article from publisher Glenn Morey for more information about this less than well-known drink. With some help from Tara Curry at Ghost Plate and Tap in Denver, we came up with the following recipe:

20 ounces blanco tequila
20 ounces Aperol
10 ounces sweet vermouth

Mix up the ingredients in a large container. Funnel into your barrel, seal and wait. Strain cocktail and store in a large glass container. Serve this cocktail over ice with a lemon peel garnish.

Loreto

This cocktail comes from the Temple Bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the barrel-aged Loreto uses Pisco, a South American brandy that’s becoming more popular in the USA. Try this cocktail if you’re feeling a little more adventurous.

40 ounces Macchu Pisco
10 ounces Yellow Chartreuse
10 ounces Maurin Quina
1/2 ounce of orange bitters

Combine spirits together in a large container. Funnel mixture into barrel and let rest for 2 to 3 weeks. Strain cocktail and store in a large glass container. To serve, pour over ice in an old fashioned glass and garnish with a single maraschino cherry.

Three Amigos

This recipe comes from Hooch bartender Dean Hurst. This is a deliciously rich cocktail made with several premium spirits that will require a slightly larger financial investment. See if some of your friends want to get in on the action.

15 ounces Milagro Resposado Tequila
15 ounces Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey
7-1/2 ounces Balvenie ‘Double Wood’ 12 yr Scotch Whisky
7-1/2 ounces Averna Amaro
2 ounces The Bitter Truth “Jerry Thomas” Bitters
1/4 ounce white sugar

Stir ingredients together, then funnel your barrel. Seal the barrel and let rest for 1 to 2 weeks, tasting every other day. Serve over ice.

Barrel Aged Martini

Not many aged cocktails call for vodka. Because it’s a neutral spirit, vodka takes on much more flavor from the barrel. Cocktail writer James Teitelbaum contributed this recipe, which calls for old bourbon casks. These casks impart more flavor in less time.

45 ounces Karlsson’s Gold Vodka
15 ounces Noilly Pratt dry vermouth
1-1/2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

Combine ingredients together. Funnel into your barrel, seal and let rest for 1 to 2 weeks, tasting every other day. After aging, strain cocktail and store in a large glass container. When ready to serve, combine ingredients in a mixing glass, and fill with ice. Stir, then strain into a martini glass.

“New” Carré

Tara Curry of Ghost Plate and Tap has put her own spin on the classic Vieux Carré cocktail, using pear brandy instead Cognac, and bourbon instead of the traditional rye whiskey.

16 ounces Peach Street Colorado Straight Bourbon
16 ounces Peach Street pear brandy
16 ounces sweet vermouth
8 ounces Benedictine

After aging:
Peychaud’s bitters
Angostura Bitters

Stir ingredients together. Funnel into your barrel, seal and let rest for 2 to 3 weeks, tasting weekly. After aging, strain cocktail and store in large glass container. When ready to serve, stir over ice with a few dashes of both Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters. Serve in a cocktail glass over ice with a lemon peel garnish.

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