Over the past year or so, it seems that every fancy bar or ambitious restaurant cocktail list has included a barrel-aged cocktail: a cocktail mixed and ready to drink, but instead poured into a mini (or real big) barrel to mellow and take on a little oak flavor. Jeffrey Morgenthaler's method has spread to Chicago and San Francisco, Boston and New York, so of course the DIYers wanted to get in on the action.
Woodinville's Age Your Own Whiskey kit works for the purpose: age some white whiskey in the 2-liter barrel to season the barrel, then use the barrel for aging negronis, Manhattans, or any batch of cocktails you mix up. But the cost is pretty steep: $149 for the kit, which can be reused around 5 times.
Enter a cheaper options from Tuthilltown Spirits: a $10 kit that includes a sealable glass bottle and a small stave from a Tuthilltown barrel, enough, they claim, to infuse your cocktail with real oak flavor. (It doesn't mention if the stave has already been whiskey-soaked.)
Has anyone tried these yet? We'd love to do a side-by-side with the mini-barrel, since the bottle kit won't be introducing any oxygen into the mix. Still, for $10, we'd certainly give wood-seasoned cocktails a try. (Tuthilltown also offers 1-liter barrels for $60 and 2-liter barrels for $72.)