Sip it Slow. Savor the Moment.
Adventure is all about letting your curiosity lead you to new experiences. Why not bring this spirit to the bar on your next visit? Rebel against the ordinary and skip the usual drink menu. If you enjoy a subtle clash of flavors, ask the bartender for a barrel-aged cocktail. This unique concoction is a hidden gem, not easy to find but when you do, the taste will reward you with a mystery of elaborate notes.
In 2010, the concept was first introduced at Clyde Common, by bar manager Jeffrey Morgenthaler after experimenting with new techniques. In the end, he discovered aging cocktails in barrels creates a richer drink after being stored for about five to six weeks.
The process begins with the bartender funneling a few gallons of premixed cocktail—such as a Manhattan or Negroni—into a wooden barrel. As the barrel breathes, the alcohol oxidizes and infuses with the wood, which extracts tannins, color and individual flavors, depending on the type of cask. Normally, oxidation is bad when it occurs after fermentation, like a bottle of red wine that sits open for weeks. But in this case, oxidation will exude notes of apple, cider, nuts and even candied fruit. These flavors are most noticeable in drinks that were aged in a barrel which previously held fortified wines.
But not all bars and restaurants use the same techniques. “Many people don’t know that after being distilled, all liquor is clear. The color that whiskeys, dark rums and dark tequilas have comes from the barrel aging process. The wood in the barrels expands and contracts through the day as the temperature rises and falls, absorbing and releasing the liquor. This is what gives the aged liquors the smoothness, vanilla notes and other complex flavors,” says Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando bartender, Garrett Nickell. “Here, we use a small white oak barrel to age the Manhattan cocktail for 30 days.” The White Oak Aged Manhattan is crafted with a mixture of inspired ingredients, including Basil Hayden Bourbon, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Solerno Italian Blood Orange Liqueur, and a dash of Fee Brothers Chocolate Bitters. No matter what flavor cocktail you choose, it’s going to be a delicious blend of ingredients that you’ll want to sip slowly and savor for a while.
Next time you’re at the bar, spice up your drink of choice. Order a barrel-aged cocktail.