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Barrel-Aged Manhattan

Winter 2016
201601045.jpg
food and drink

BY: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

A classic Manhattan, freshly made, and a barrel-aged Manhattan consumed at an informal taste-testing at Le Chien Noir Bistro in Kingston, Ont., were assertively quite different drinks—despite being made with the same ingredients. The barrel-aged drink was what tasters enjoyed most.

BARREL
1 bottle (750 mL) Alberta Premium Dark Horse Whisky (LCBO 298083)
1½ cups (375 mL) Martini & Rossi Sweet Red Vermouth (LCBO 215343, 1 L)

PER COCKTAIL
2 oz Barrel-Aged Manhattan
2 drops Angostura bitters
½ to 1 tsp (2 to 5 mL) brandied cherry juice (optional)
2 to 3 Brandied Cherries (recipe follows)

1 Using a funnel, pour whisky and vermouth into the bunghole of a 2-L prepared barrel (see Oak Barrels, below). Replace bung firmly.

2 Age several days to a couple of weeks, tasting it daily after 3 days until it’s to your liking. Aging time will depend on the capacity of the barrel and how many times the barrel has been used. A brand new 2-L barrel aged the cocktail perfectly in 5 days, a second batch using the same barrel took 7 days to achieve the same taste, and a third batch was ready in 12 days.

3 When aged to your taste, decant through a fine strainer into glass bottles; seal and store at room temperature out of the light. This stops the aging process.

4 To serve 1 Manhattan, add ice to a whisky glass. Pour in 2 oz barrel-aged Manhattan, stir in bitters and cherry juice. Garnish with a couple of brandied cherries speared on a tiny skewer.

Makes 18 Manhattans

BRANDIED CHERRIES

Using a glass container such as a 1-cup (250‑mL) canning jar, fill about three-quarters full with dried sweetened Montmorency cherries. Pour in enough brandy to generously cover cherries; screw on lid. Let stand at room temperature while barrel-aging the Manhattan. The cherries plump up and become quite flavourful

OAK BARRELS

Follow instructions provided with purchased barrel such as the 2-L one used in this recipe, courtesy of and available at BYOB Cocktail Emporium in Toronto (cocktailemporium.ca). A new barrel needs to be soaked for 4 to 5 days by filling it with water; empty through bunghole before adding whisky and vermouth. The smaller the barrel, the less time that is needed for aging. Conversely a repeatedly used barrel of any size will take longer to achieve the oak, caramel and vanilla flavours that distinguish a barrel-aged drink.

201601045.jpg
food and drink

Barrel-Aged Manhattan

Winter 2016

BY: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

A classic Manhattan, freshly made, and a barrel-aged Manhattan consumed at an informal taste-testing at Le Chien Noir Bistro in Kingston, Ont., were assertively quite different drinks—despite being made with the same ingredients. The barrel-aged drink was what tasters enjoyed most.

BARREL
1 bottle (750 mL) Alberta Premium Dark Horse Whisky (LCBO 298083)
1½ cups (375 mL) Martini & Rossi Sweet Red Vermouth (LCBO 215343, 1 L)

PER COCKTAIL
2 oz Barrel-Aged Manhattan
2 drops Angostura bitters
½ to 1 tsp (2 to 5 mL) brandied cherry juice (optional)
2 to 3 Brandied Cherries (recipe follows)

1 Using a funnel, pour whisky and vermouth into the bunghole of a 2-L prepared barrel (see Oak Barrels, below). Replace bung firmly.

2 Age several days to a couple of weeks, tasting it daily after 3 days until it’s to your liking. Aging time will depend on the capacity of the barrel and how many times the barrel has been used. A brand new 2-L barrel aged the cocktail perfectly in 5 days, a second batch using the same barrel took 7 days to achieve the same taste, and a third batch was ready in 12 days.

3 When aged to your taste, decant through a fine strainer into glass bottles; seal and store at room temperature out of the light. This stops the aging process.

4 To serve 1 Manhattan, add ice to a whisky glass. Pour in 2 oz barrel-aged Manhattan, stir in bitters and cherry juice. Garnish with a couple of brandied cherries speared on a tiny skewer.

Makes 18 Manhattans

BRANDIED CHERRIES

Using a glass container such as a 1-cup (250‑mL) canning jar, fill about three-quarters full with dried sweetened Montmorency cherries. Pour in enough brandy to generously cover cherries; screw on lid. Let stand at room temperature while barrel-aging the Manhattan. The cherries plump up and become quite flavourful

OAK BARRELS

Follow instructions provided with purchased barrel such as the 2-L one used in this recipe, courtesy of and available at BYOB Cocktail Emporium in Toronto (cocktailemporium.ca). A new barrel needs to be soaked for 4 to 5 days by filling it with water; empty through bunghole before adding whisky and vermouth. The smaller the barrel, the less time that is needed for aging. Conversely a repeatedly used barrel of any size will take longer to achieve the oak, caramel and vanilla flavours that distinguish a barrel-aged drink.

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