Year: 2010

Aged Cocktails Gain in Popularity

Written by: Robert Simonson in The New York Times

Barrel-aged cocktails are being poured at bars from San Francisco to Boston. They are exactly what they sound like, complete cocktails aged in barrels, just as if they were wine or whiskey.

At Dram in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, an aged Martinez, a 19th-century cocktail founded on gin and sweet vermouth, can be sampled. At the Gramercy Park Hotel’s Roof Club, there’s an cask-seasoned star cocktail, made of apple brandy and sweet vermouth. Temple Bar, near Boston, takes its time with a Negroni.

Barrels give whiskey much of its flavor, and all its color. With cocktails, the wood imparts flavors of vanilla, caramel and certain spice notes. Vermouth becomes a bit oxidized from exposure to air through the wood. And practitioners say the various alcohols integrate in the process.

The trend took off last spring after the Portland, Ore., bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler posted his experiments with barrel-aged drinks, and a few recipes, on his blog (, well read in cocktail circles.

Six-Week-Old Martinis, Anyone?

Written by: Robert Simonson in The New York Times

WITH the precision mixologists take these days in building their more ornate creations, customers have grown used to waiting a few minutes for a drink. For the latest innovation in elite libations, however, they’ll have to wait six weeks or so.

Barrel-aged cocktails are being poured at bars from San Francisco to Boston. They are exactly what they sound like, complete cocktails aged in barrels, just as if they were wine or whiskey.

Old enough to drink

Written by: Julia Kramer in Time Out Chicago

The allure of charred wood has led bartenders to try their hand at aging bitters (Joshua Pearson has a batch of four-month-aged “Christmas” ones in the works at Sepia; the Violet Hour makes 15–17 varieties of bitters, some of which it ages), individual spirits and, most recently — with inspiration from Portland, Oregon, bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler — entire cocktails. Though what goes in the barrel is important (the cocktail’s got to be entirely spirits—and pretty high-alcohol ones that won’t oxidize), so is the barrel itself.


Written by: n/a in Nylon Magazine

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, widely recognized as one of the best mixologists in America, manages the bar at Clyde Common. Embarrassingly, we did not know this fact when we asked him if he ‘knew any good gin cocktails’ on our first night in Portland (his reply: ‘Yes, thousands’). Nevertheless, far too early one morning he made a unique cocktail just for NYLON, the Transatlantic. ‘It celebrates our local distilleries and the Portland palate, which leans toward bitter, complex spirits and liqueurs,’ he says. ‘I think it’s a winner.’ Here’s how to make your own…”

The Boardroom Boozehound

Written by: Spencer Bailey in Bloomberg Businessweek

Lunch can still be splashy. Jordan Kaye, co-author of How to Booze, and Jeffrey Morgenthaler, noted spirits blogger and mixologist at Clyde Common in Portland, Ore., advise on how to get tanked without tipping off your co-workers.

How to Make (or, not make) Sangria

Little did I know, after announcing that I’d be bringing a pitcher of sangria to the Tex-Mex dinner party last weekend, that every single person in attendance was recoiling in horror at the thought of having to choke down a big heaping glass of red syrup. But much to their surprise – and my relief | Read More

Quiz: Cocktail Geek, or “Bear”?

As many of you might know, this week is the annual cocktail geek gathering in New Orleans known as Tales of the Cocktail. Every year, bartenders, brand ambassadors, and cocktail enthusiasts from all over the world come together to celebrate, learn about, and embrace the cocktail renaissance. Coincidentally, Tales falls almost five months to the | Read More

Shelf Life – Barrel-aged cocktails are the latest bartending craze

Written by: n/a in Tasting Table

In today’s hyperactive cocktail climate, new ideas travel faster than a bottle of Fernet Branca in a room full of mixologists. Case in point: barrel-aged cocktails.

The seed was planted when Portland, Oregon-based bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler tasted a Manhattan that had been aged five years in a glass vessel by noted London bartender Tony Conigliaro. Back at home in his bar, Clyde Common, he began aging cocktails in barrels instead of bottles to cut down the wait time.

An avid blogger, Morgenthaler quickly posted the results–smooth and nuanced drinks that brought new life to old formulas–and it didn’t take long for others to catch on.

Case Study | Vintage Cocktails

Written by: Toby Cecchini in The New York Times Style Magazine

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who runs the bar at Clyde Common in the Ace Hotel in Portland, Ore., and also writes an engaging cocktail blog, was in London for Rumfest last October and found himself sitting at 69 Colebrook Row, appreciatively sipping one of Conigliaro’s vintage manhattans. “Being American, I thought to myself, ‘How can we age this more, and faster, make it taste really different?’

Feliz Dia del Barman, Amigos

Today, on April 15th, while the United States is busy mourning Tax Day, the Argentineans are celebrating Bartender’s Day. Here’s the story as related to me by my friend Federico Cuco: Sixty-nine years ago today, a group of young bartenders from Buenos Aires met for a dinner hosted by the magazine The Barman (the first | Read More

Barrel Aged Cocktails


This is the post that started it all: the genesis of Barrel Aged Cocktails. Inspired by a visit last October to see Tony Conigliaro at the unnamed bar at 69 Colebrooke Row in London last fall, where Manhattans are aged in glass vessels to sublime and subtle effect, the barrel aged cocktails I’ve been serving | Read More

How to Vomit on Your Keyboard Ten Different Ways

This appalling affront to the craft that so many of us have worked hard trying to restore over the past fifteen-plus years has been making the rounds on Twitter, but I thought I’d share it here with all of you. Browse at your own risk, my advice is to keep a bucket handy. Oscar Party | Read More


To get to the town of Cognac, France, you have to fly into the airport at Bordeaux, nearly two hours south. You spend a good hour on the freeway, which looks pretty much like any freeway in the world, until eventually you see an exit marked “Cognac”. You then make your way from the main | Read More

Dry Vermouth Sangaree

If there’s one thing I hate about living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s the stretch of time from late October until late June, when the sun makes only the most occasional of appearances. I typically pack on an extra 10-15 pounds during those rainy months, partly due to over-consumption of wintertime drinks like dark beer, | Read More