Barrel-Aged Cocktails: Barrels

Allowing classic cocktails like the Sazerac or Manhattan to age in oak for a month helps flavors to mellow and soften.

Bartender Van Zarr of Bluestem in Kansas City and Rye in Leawood, Kansas, serves both of these recipes in 3-ounce portions. When combined with ice, Zarr says it’s a 6-ounce drink.

Boulevardier

Yields | 12 liters |

6 750-milliliter bottles Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey

4 750-milliliter bottles Dolin vermouth rouge

4 750-milliliter bottles Aperol

2¼ oz orange Angostura bitters

1 cardamom pod

2 juniper berries

3 coriander seeds

1 clove

ice

orange peel (for garnish)

| Preparation | In a large water cooler or container, combine first four ingredients.

In a saucepan, roast remaining ingredients except ice and orange peel for a few minutes until toasted. Add spice mixture to container of wet ingredients. Funnel into large barrel and allow to sit for a minimum of 3 weeks.

When the cocktail is finished aging, empty the entire barrel back into a large pourable container and strain cocktail through cheesecloth to remove any wood bits or char pieces. Funnel into individual bottles to store, or serve.

| To Serve | Stir 3-ounce cocktail over ice. Pour over specialty ice blocks or spheres, if desired. Garnish with a long peel of orange, having the oils expressed over the drink and dropped in. Serve.

The Old Square

Yields | 12 liters |

1 750-millileter bottle Dark Horse Distillery Reunion Rye Whiskey

3 750-millileter bottles Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey

4 750-millileter bottles Landy VS Cognac

4 750-millileter bottles Dolin vermouth rouge

3 750-millileter bottles Bénédictine

2¾ oz combined Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters

ice

flamed orange peel

| Preparation | In a large water cooler or container, combine all ingredients except ice and orange peel. Funnel into oak barrel and allow to age for 2 weeks.

When the cocktail is finished aging, empty the entire barrel back into a large pourable container and strain cocktail through cheesecloth to remove any wood bits or char pieces. Funnel into individual bottles to store, or serve.

| To Serve | Stir 3-ounce cocktail over ice. Pour over specialty ice blocks or spheres, if desired. Garnish with a flamed orange peel and serve.

Bluestem, 900 Westport Road, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.561.1101, bluestemkc.com

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