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Project Barrel Aging – When in doubt, age something in a barrel

And so we are …

… aging something again, that is.

In case you have forgotten we have had a little experience barrel aging things – recently the topic of our aged Negroni came up while imbibing with close friends and we began to toy with the idea of finding a little barrel and working some new magic.

This time around we think that we’ve learned a lesson not well understood during our last adventure.  In our prior go, we approached things more by mixing up drinks we liked and aging and failed to understand a key concept behind the entire aging process — age un-aged spirits and together with certain ingredients like say, an aromatized wine, experience a transformation of the drink’s taste profile.

For our newest adventure, we are aging drinks that use un-aged or very lightly aged spirits.  Having acquired our little barrel from Woodinville, P1000380we first aged for a full six weeks, two bottles of their White Dog spirit.  The angels definitely took their share, a near three-quarters of a bottle’s worth. We have really enjoyed sipping on this young spirit which exhibits a wonderful candy-like sweetness and a strong grain profile. A great sipping spirit.

Next up, back to favorite aged drink … the Negroni.  Beefeater gin, Dolin Rouge and Campari mixed up and filled to the rim of the barrel and then we waited and waited and waited. We started small taste testings of the mixture around the 3 week mark and pulled out at approximately six weeks — it tasted great and frankly, we could not wait any longer.  I love this drink — its velvety texture and wonderfully complex sweetness is offset by the twinge of bitterness.  The bitterness works perfectly well here in a subtle, foundation like way.  Perfection in a sipping glass!

So what to do next?  A bit of a departure for us, we opted to try an aged Old Fashioned of sorts.  We went back to the recipes available on the Woodinville site and decided to try their Aged Maple Old Fashioned.  Our only real difference vs. the offered recipe on the website was that we subbed in a slightly less expensive white whiskey in lieu of the Woodinville White Dog … Ole Smoky Original Moonshine.  Having “sampled” it a few times and given its higher proof and lower price point, we threw a Hail Mary and waited to see what developed after aging in our little wood P1000382vessel.

When the aging was completed, again, approximately six weeks after filling the barrel, we removed the contents and prepped for a full review.  Measuring out 3 ounces of the aged mixture, we stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass containing a large cubed ice cube and garnished with orange and lemon twists.  The color is quite nice, giving hues of amber and bronze color with a lovely rich consistency. I am quick to note that this is a bit sweeter than our normal, preferred Old Fashioned variation.  However, the spirit ages nicely in the barrel and as you sip tends to soften the sweetness of the mixture.  The bitters need more of a punch and we’ll likely add in an extra hit when mixing up.

Aged Maple Old Fashioned
Recipe sourced from the Woodinville Whiskey Company website (barrel aged cocktail recipes) and slightly adapted by theSpeakista

•    4 1/2 cups white whiskey (Ole Smoky Original Moonshine was used)
•    1 cup maple syrup
•    2 oz Angostura bitters
Tools: primed whiskey barrel of your choosing

Assembly: Mixed all ingredients together first before pouring into the primed barrel.  Said a little prayer to the aging Gods and waited we did.  

Well … a little aging has gone a long way, for us.  We are opting to keep our little aging project going, stretching the barrel’s use to good use and we will see if future posts are warranted.

Next up … a few items that have caught our interest … revisiting a favorite drink and setting out to explore the “Golden Ratio.”

See you back real soon!

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