Barrel-aged cocktails differ from anything that has gone before because they are almost impossible to reproduce beyond their point of origin. Classic and traditional cocktails are relatively easy to compare like for like because the minor alterations in the mix, or a change of the constituent brands, are the only variations. The creativity of mixologists continually pushes the boundaries and great new cocktails arrive with a pleasing regularity but these, like their classic counterparts, can be easily reproduced around the world and thank goodness for that. Barrel-aged cocktails are different because it is nearly impossible to replicate beyond their point of origin.
Barrel-aged cocktails have been springing up at some of the world’s greatest cocktail bars for some time now but no two are ever exactly the same, even at the same bar. The potential points of difference are manifest. The barrels come in all shapes and sizes. They are made of different materials. Some are new, others have absorbed the essence of their previous incumbent. Each batch of a cocktail may be prepared slightly differently to a previous one, stored at a different temperature or, for a differing period. What happens if the barrel is moved or has to travel? Then there are bartenders who prefer to age individual constituents but create the individual cocktail ‘fresh’ before the customer’s eyes.
Such rich diversity is wonderful for original adventure but we cannot all make it to an individual bar on the other side of the world, so how can we share the successes and avoid one or two failures with cocktail lovers everywhere? This and the scientific aspects behind the artistry are areas that many of us are interested in and we would like to know more about and share more of our combined experiences. This year we will be exploring and enjoying barrel-aged cocktails at shows, events, competitions and in clubs and bars around the world. We will be looking into the science behind the artistry and sharing what we find. We are interested in hearing from professional barkeepers and mixologists and learning about what you have discovered and where we may be able to help you explore a little further. You can reach us here on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or the website.
In the meantime, here is our non-aged cocktail of the month, the Mountain Sour.
40ml Grand Tétras Genépi
10ml Menthe Pastille
20ml cloudy apple juice
20ml fresh lemon juice
10ml egg white
1 teaspoon of icing sugar
Shake all the ingredients over ice. Serve in a sour glass and finish with a few dashes of aromatic bitters on top.