Aging cocktails in wood barrels is nothing new. Well, not too new.
In 2010, Jeff Morgenthaler of Portland, Oregon’s Clyde Common at the Ace Hotel, wrote about the practice in an article that made its way to the New York Times in December of that same year:
“Being from the United States, where – as everyone is aware – bigger equals better, I pondered the following question: what if you could prepare a large batch of a single, spirit-driven cocktail and age it in a used oak barrel?”
Without going into a history lesson, what you should know is that Morgenthaler succeeded and the practice caught on. After all, it’s simpler than mixing drinks as they’re ordered and oak barrels make fantastic conversation pieces. But ease and aesthetics aside, barrel aged cocktails are delicious. The addition of oak barrel characteristics to the right blend of liquors ties the final product together in a way previously unattainable – almost as if it were originally intended to exist only in that fashion.
“The mouthfeel, once aged, melds the flavors together more like a liqueur,” said wine and spirits director John Kulikowski.
Hacienda del Sol mixologist Brandon Hanson, along with Kulikowski, started experimenting with the practice in August 2016. Around Thanksgiving, after aging ninety days, they began serving their concoction and sold out within three weeks. So they upped their production.
Now nine different barrels line the bar’s shelves aging in-house recipes for Manhattans and Negronis. And many more barrels sit on standby. The reason for all the additional oak? Hacienda isn’t just offering single drinks for sale at the bar; you can buy an entire barrel.
Each barrel is brand new, pure American oak, that has been charred, tempered and seasoned in-house. A single barrel holds five liters or 170 ounces of liquid. It’s roughly enough for 65 2.5 ounce cocktails.
For now, only Manhattans are available. The house recipe, which spares no expense, includes high-end ingredients such as Bulleit rye and bourbon, Leopold Bros. Michigan Cherry Flavored Whiskey, and the original sweet vermouth, Carpano Antica, which is made from an original recipe dating back to 1786.
A full barrel will set you back $400. Refilling it? $225. Both of which are a steal considering it’s a $16 drink if you come in to order one at The Grill, the Bar, or the Terraza Garden Patio & Lounge. Plus you get to keep the barrel.
Honestly, these things make great gifts. And the barrels can be engraved with a special message and date.
In this case, supplies truly are limited.
Hacienda del Sol is located at 5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road. For more information, visit haciendadelsol.com. For more barrel aged cocktail information, visit the Barrel Aged Cocktail page on haciendadelsol.com.
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