Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Barrel-Aged Aged Cocktail Trend Will Not Be Stopped

First Portland, then New York and Madison, and now Boston. Barrel-aged cocktails are spreading across the nation at wildfire speed.

This fall, Hugh Reynolds, bar manager at Temple Bar in Cambridge, MA, will add whiskey barrel-aged Negronis to his menu. As with every other bar that's trying this trick, he got his mini-barrels from New York's Tuthilltown Distillery, which has parlayed this trend into a nice sideline.

Reynolds got the idea from Portland, Oregon, bartender Jeffrey Morganthaler, who was inspired by Tony Conigliaro in London, who ages Manhattans in glass bottles for up to five years. (The process is considerably faster in wood.) Morganthaler's concoctions have been selling like hotcakes since he introduced them last fall. Since then, the notion has been latched onto by a growing number of edgy, and not so edgy, cocktail bars.

Reynolds mixes up his Negronis using local Berkshire Mountain Distillery’s Ethereal Gin (a small-batch gin with varying levels of botanicals like rose petals and orange peel in each batch), Campari and Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth. He then lets the cocktail age in the barrels for six weeks. Next up for the treatment is a rum cocktail called the Cherry Valance, made of Appleton Estate Rum, Cherry Heering and chocolate bitters.

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