Have you ever tasted barrel-aged cocktails? I had my first craft cocktail a few years ago and it blew me away. So smooth and complex… more like fine wine than distilled liquor. Of course, I paid the price… one cocktail cost $20.
Whether you prefer a Manhattan, Martinis or an Old Fashioned, craft cocktails will vastly improve the taste of your favorite cocktail. Making barrel-aged cocktails (also known as craft cocktails) is easy to do at home… and you don't need a whisky barrel. With this mason jar method, you can make barrel aged cocktails in a mason jar in a fraction of the time it takes with a barrel — you'll have delicious craft cocktails ready in just 2 weeks instead of 6.
Oh, and these would make fabulous Christmas gifts!
Why Barrel-Aged Cocktails Taste So Delicious
Before I explain the method, let me tell you why this works. Humans have been aging wine in oak barrels since Roman times. Storing oak barrels began as a method for transporting wine throughout the expansive Roman empire, but people soon noticed that it made the wine taste better.
“The contact with the wood made the wine softer and smoother, and with some wines, it also made it better tasting. Due to the minimal toasting of the wood, wines developed additional scents such as cloves, cinnamon, allspice or vanilla, and when drunk they had additional flavors present, such as caramel, vanilla or even butter. As the practice of using oak barrels for transport continued, merchants, wine producers, and armies alike, found that the longer the wine remained inside the barrels, the more qualities from the oak would be imparted into the wine, and thus began the practice of aging wine in oak.” (Source)
Just as aging wine in oak barrels helps to make it taste better, it also works with other types of alcohol. If you've ever tasted aged Scotch whisky, you know what I'm talking about. This is why you see 30-year-old bottles of single malt Scotch selling for hundreds of dollars.
How to Make Barrel-Aged Cocktails in a Fraction of the Time
This is the easiest thing in the world. All you need is a few things… You don't need to buy a big expensive whisky barrel. All you need is a mason jar and this nifty little oak infusion spiral — they sell them for $5 on Amazon — this 4-pack is only $14.91 ($3.73 each).
This amazing little gadget allows you to make a barrel-aged cocktail in just 2 weeks, or a fortnight, as they say across the pond. A fraction of the time it normally takes. With a 2-liter whisky barrel, you'd have to wait a full 6 weeks to sample your concoction. Oh the agony!
You should go ahead and get the 4-pack because you're gonna want to make a few batches. The first time I made craft cocktails, I made one batch of Manhattans and one batch of Negronis. They were gone almost immediately.
You will also need a lid for your mason jar (I like these plastic ones) and a permanent marker to write on the lid. Oh, yeah, and you need some booze.
I am trying out a couple different versions of the Negroni recipe. I mixed my husband a Negroni last week and he complained that it needed more gin. So we'll see what he thinks of these (don't worry – you can always add more of any of the ingredients when you mix the cocktail).
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