Barrel Aged Manhattan

IMG_3278 One of the first things you need to do when you start barrel aging cocktails is: get a barrel and season it. Now different people will tell you different things about what this require.  I fill my 5 litre barrel from Tuthillton with water and sank it in a bathtub of water over night.  Apparently this isn’t enough, after I had poured my cocktail into my barrel it began to leak.IMG_3277

IMG_3276Then I read somewhere else that they filled their barrel with water and let it sit for a week! So Neil freaked out and I got a baking dish to put under my barrel and for the first half an hour the front and back of the barrel dripped Manhattan.  I knew it would stop once the barrel was wet enough to expand.  Indeed it did in about 45 minutes.  I waited a while longer and pour the run off back into the barrel.  Now I wait.IMG_3275Here’s the other thing I learned while I hemmed and hawed about what kind of cocktail to make and did I really need a 5 liter barrel or, more to the point, did I really need 5 litres worth of cocktails!  After reading and researching the conclusion I came to was: no you don’t need to fill your barrel full.  So no you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on booze to make a vast quantity of cocktails. Because I only made a litres worth cocktail in a 5 litre container it will age quicker because of the surface to liquid ratio.  Every week you can turn the barrel 90 degrees to further make use of all that thirsty oak.

As a novice 5 litres seems a good size barrel not too big not too small – but in reality for my purposes it’s probably too big. 2-3 liters would have been fine, certainly I’m  not complaining and I think next I might buy some unaged corn whiskey and let it sit for a few months.IMG_3273The recipe was easy:

Barrel Aged Manhattan

1 bottle Rye Whisky (25 ounces/750 ml)

7 ounces Sweet Vermouth

2 Ounces Angostura bitters

Mix it in a jug and using a funnel pour it into your barrel, cork it up and in about 4 weeks it should be done…I’m going to start tasting mine in 2 weeks — I’ll keep you update on the progress. Oh and if you can still get some fresh local sour cherries, you can candy them – the perfect accompaniment to your Manhattan.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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2 Responses to Barrel Aged Manhattan

  1. Pingback: TRG Barrel Aged Boulevardier | The Straight Up

  2. Pingback: Barrel Aged Manhattans Are Ready! | Urbanfoodguy

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