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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Has anyone barrel aged their Rum, other spirits?
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Has anyone barrel aged their Rum, other spirits?
Kill Devil
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Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 250
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-10-08 06:47 am   Permalink

Lately I've noticed web sites offering liter-size and up oak barrels for sale to age spirits in. Has anyone done this? I'm certainly not convinced that one would make a big difference to an already aged spirit, but might do well for infusions, homemade bumbo/spiced rum, etc. Anybody?

 
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Sunny&Rummy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 461
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-10-08 06:53 am   Permalink

I have heard good things about the barrel-aged Manhattans some craft bars have started offering but I have not tasted one or done it myself. That is one thing I would really like to try doing though.

 
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arriano
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Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1280
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2013-10-08 10:59 am   Permalink

I've never barrel-aged spirits, but I'd think you'd have to age a spirit at least three years to notice much of a change. And that's a long time to wait.

I have simulated barrel aging when making beer by adding oak chips to the fermenter. This does work to a certain degree.
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blueeyedtiki
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Joined: Aug 02, 2013
Posts: 25
Posted: 2013-10-08 11:08 am   Permalink

They're mainly used to barrel age pre-made cocktails. I once had a barrel aged negroni that was delicious. The bartender said it was aged for a month or so. I would think that any tiki drink would be pretty weird barrel aged. The citrus would probably not age well.

 
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Sunny&Rummy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 461
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-10-08 11:36 am   Permalink

You are correct, barrel aging cocktails with juice or dairy isn't going to be good.

I have read in a few places that a Manhattan barrel aged for 6 months is a much more complex drink than its unaged counterpart.


 
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swizzle
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Joined: Jun 03, 2007
Posts: 839
From: Melbourne,Australia
Posted: 2013-10-08 3:52 pm   Permalink

I've had a barrel aged Martinez although i'm not sure how long it was in the barrel for and also, without having a freshly made one to drink along side it for comparison it's hard to say if there was/would have been much difference.

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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 395
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-09 06:19 am   Permalink

I've tried barrel aged spirits in bars & they seemed a bit woody (!) to me. The spirits used were a blend of regular spirits.

I haven't considered buying a barrel because of that. I would expect the wood used in the barrel would has a a big effect (ie if is new or has been charred / previously used).

The idea of aging a rum is interesting but the 'tropical aging' effect would be relevant (ie the heat / humidity being a catalyst for aging) - I don't think it's a case of 'put rum in barrel, wait' = 'aged rum as you know it'

I have seen a bottle for sale that has a wooden helix / honeycomb inside & if I were to try aging my own spirit short term I would try that as it would be a smaller batch. I like to hear a comparison if anyone has


 
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Kill Devil
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Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 250
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-10-09 08:04 am   Permalink

I'm wondering - would the vermouth in a barrel-aged Manhattan, maintain itself through the aging process, or could it "go off"? It is wine, after all. I could definitely see where citrus would not age well.

 
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stormrider
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 02, 2013
Posts: 62
From: Ft Misery, Fl
Posted: 2013-10-09 10:40 am   Permalink

I am going to try this shortly with cheap white rum as an experiment. As I understand it the smaller the barrel the faster the aging process. Also you will loose volume to the barrel and atmosphere. If you want to add the oak essence you can go to wine making supply websites and find coils of charred oak for cheap money. These will only give the oak flavor and some color to the liquor it wont really smooth it out like barrel aging will. I have tried to find a formula for aging equivalents in small vs large barrels but I assume there is a lot more variables than just time and size.

Storm
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Sunny&Rummy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 461
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-10-09 11:46 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-09 08:04, Kill Devil wrote:
I'm wondering - would the vermouth in a barrel-aged Manhattan, maintain itself through the aging process, or could it "go off"? It is wine, after all. I could definitely see where citrus would not age well.



Wine, yes, but fortified wine, so they are typically bottled at 16-18% abv instead of the 9-12% abv of table wine. That is certainly enough alcohol to allow for good preservative properties during aging. On the other hand, oxidation is what I would be most worried about. If I was to lay down a cask of Manhattan or Martinez, etc., to be aged I would be careful to agitate/aerate the contents as little as possible (no need to stir to mix ingredients, they will have months to mix and marry in the cask) and would leave no head space in the cask.
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 943
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-10-09 12:45 pm   Permalink

This is an interesting topic. I just came back from my local specialty liquors store and had a conversation with the owner about cask- and barrel-aged stuff in general. This seems to be quite the rage right now. They had cask-aged and barrel-aged bottled cocktails for sale in his shop, and he spoke quite highly of these. I was left with the impression that this is another interesting variation/option brought to us by the creative (and apparently quite restless) new craft mixologists. He did regale me with stories about how he cooks batches of exotic spices and ingredients in the back room to make batches of unique bitters and syrups and extracts. I felt like I was talking to the host of a cooking show - definitely not someone who seemed devoted to playing with, and exploring, the world of vintage cocktails as much as striking out in new directions. I'm not criticizing or looking down on him at all -- but it seemed he was mostly into doing many of his own things and coming up with entirely new stuff alongside with having developed an appreciation for classic cocktails. He did acknowledge tiki as a portion of the greater realm of mixology, but I didn't get into this because I wanted to get into his view of the bigger cocktail and mixology picture.

I found that he is quite knowledgeable and really enjoys what he is doing. So the clincher question I posed to him -- how long has he been "into" craft cocktails, and what made him abandon the crappy pop-culture stuff served in many restaurants and bars. He told me his tastes turned the corner in June a year ago (June 2012, so 16 months ago) when he was served his first high-quality cocktails which had history and some sort of quality pedigree. Then he took his discovery to such a high level of interest that he and his business partner came to decide to open a specialty shop with a speakeasy in the back room. (Yes, complete with intimate and clandestine-feeling atmosphere and secret entrance through a sliding bookcase.) I plan on going back tonight after work to check it out. I'm sure it will be interesting and fun.

My conclusion is that the creativity of our new craft mixologists are taking cocktails in new directions and to new levels (but not always better) with an insane number of new combinations of ingredients and techniques. I am looking forward to the "fallout" down the road and to seeing what things survive to remain a part of American cocktail culture. I think that these new discoveries and approaches to mixology will be acknowledged, at the very least, as chapters in cocktail history books of the future.


 
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Sunny&Rummy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 461
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-10-09 1:13 pm   Permalink

Wait. . . this specialty liquor store with attached craft cocktail speakeasy is in Jacksonville?!? Where??
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 943
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-10-09 2:00 pm   Permalink


It's the "Grape & Grain Exchange" in San Marco.
www.grapeandgrainexchange.com
2000 San Marco Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 396-4455

The owner I spoke with shared that the speakeasy gets quite full on weekend nights (I understand that it is "intimate," not cavernous) so call ahead to reserve a table during prime times. They have live music many nights, sometimes a DJ. I was hoping for, but did not hear anything about, exotica, lounge, or chill genres. They have to cater to what's musically appealing to the majority of folks. This includes, according to the owner, occasionally some hip-hop which I thought finally died a while back. He told me that Wed/Thu nights are quietest - which I like best for sipping good cocktails, relaxing, and actually having a conversation with whomever you're with. Most of the time I like to go easier on my ears than on my liver, heh, but there are exceptions.

This probably isn't the Tiki Central forum topic under which to post this sort of a review, but since I mentioned it and there was follow-up interest here, I decided what the heck.


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djmont
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Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 327
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-10-09 4:00 pm   Permalink

Aging spirits in small barrels is complicated and a mixed bag at best.

It makes more sense for cocktails, since you're not going to age as long, and you're not really trying to put time on the liquid, so much as give it a chance for the flavors to combine and mature and maybe mellow out a little. Even so, I'd recommend tasting it often and pulling it sooner rather than later.

I've been tempted to try it, but haven't yet.
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AdOrAdam
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 395
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-14 1:32 pm   Permalink

Found out in the UK you can get barrels from Master of Malt & Gerrys in Soho ~ about 35 for a litre one.

Master of Malt have a review from someone who tried the process with sherry first then scotch

http://www.masterofmalt.com/barrel/kentucky-oak-barrel/kentucky-toasted-oak-barrel-1-litre-barrel/?srh=1

Nice to see them describing the angels as 'greedy b*****ds'!

Im hunting for an even smaller barrel to buy & try it out now
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