If you’ve been anywhere near the cocktail industry in the last two years, you’ve noticed that aged cocktails are having a moment. Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common in Portland is widely credited with bringing this technique to the United States, and he certainly popularized it. We have aged whiskey at home before with pretty good results, and so we thought we would apply the same method to see if we could approximate the result one would get by barrel-aging a cocktail.
The first thing to do is make your cocktail, so we took the recipe we like for a perfect bourbon manhattan, multiplied it by four, and poured it into a bottle with some pieces of charred American oak that we got from the homebrew store in our neighborhood.
2 oz. bourbon
½ oz. sweet vermouth
½ oz. dry vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
We let this age for ten days, then strained it twice through cheesecloth to remove any debris from the oak cubes.
Chill a martini glass and stir 3-4 ounces of the aged cocktail with ice for about 30 seconds to chill it. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
We cannot recommend this process highly enough. The charred oak aging smooths out the flavors of the cocktail in a really rich way. We love how we can now just pour a beautifully made manhattan at any time with no hassle. This would be great to pour for friends if you’re hosting a dinner party and don’t want the added mess of cocktail-mixing.