Barrel ageing a cocktail involves mixing its ingredients before letting it rest in a barrel (typically a whiskey barrel) for several weeks (or months.) “It allows that bar to serve something that nobody else can offer,” muses Ryan Fitzgerald, spirits and cocktail consultant at San Francisco’s Berreta Pizzeria and Bar. “Even if the cocktails are made in the exact same proportions with the same brands, the barrel ageing will change that cocktail in a much different way at each location.”
Jeffrey Morganthaler, bar manager of Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon, launched the trend in the United States after being inspired by the London cocktail “lab” of Tony Conigliaro at 69 Colebrooke Row, “where Manhattans are aged in glass vessels to sublime and subtle effect,” says Morganthaler. He currently offers a Barrel Aged Negroni rested for two months in a Tuthilltown whiskey barrel, as well as a Barrel Aged Martinez, both sold for $10.
The effort for this style of drink comes on the front end; sampling every few days is key in determining how long to let it rest. The end result is a ready-mixed, ready-made batch of cocktails that only needs to be chilled with ice, garnished and served.