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Aging makes for killer drinks

Written by: Gary Regan in San Francisco Chronicle

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, head bartender at Clyde Common in Portland, Ore., also sampled some of Tony’s aged cocktails, and he decided to play with the idea, laying his cocktails down in oak barrels, and thus adding yet another layer to the drinks.

What happens to cocktails when they age? For one thing, they oxidize a little when they are aged in bottles, which results in a tightly integrated, complex drink that shows a tad more complexity than a freshly made mixed drink.

Bar Star

Written by: Rachel Ritchie in Portland Monthly

The results are in! You, our fair readers, have voted Clyde Common’s Jeffrey Morgenthaler your Bartender of the Year. Here, he riffs on Portland’s drinking scene and shakes up the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail.

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 (jeffreymorgenthaler.com), 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.

Portland

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.

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?’

The Mixologist’s Guide to Furnishing Your At-Home Bar

Written by: Josh Condon in Esquire Magazine

Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common in Portland, Ore., says: “There are two basic principles to muddling. The most common technique is to get in there and really bash things apart — using a little force breaks up the fruit entirely and gets the most flavor. The other technique is reserved for citrus segments and peels, and requires a more gentle touch — muddle just enough to release the essential oils that will flavor the drink, but not so much as to pulverize the rind. Citrus peel, when abused, can bring unwanted bitterness.”

The A-List: Top Ten Mixologists

Written by: Liz Grossman in Playboy

When Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common got fed up with commercial tonic water, he made his own. “I don’t like the sweetness,” he says. “There’s a lack of depth in the flavor profile.” For his housemade version, he boiled cinchona bark with citrus peel, citric acid and lemongrass to extract the quinine, then filtered it and cut it with agave syrup. “The final product, to me, is that flavor, not the thrill of [making] it,” he says. Morgenthaler lists this recipe on his blog, along with how to make ginger beer and how not to make a mint julep. “I’m constantly [traveling] and talking to people, I go to bars, sit back and watch,” he says. During a recent visit to Hamburg, Germany’s Le Lion had Morgenthaler in awe of freezer-stored glassware, a practice he’s still trying to implement at Clyde Common. He came to the Portland bar in early 2009 armed with a preference for gin (“Vodka is too much of a blank slate while gin provides a neutral spirit with a mild starting point”), a stash of orange bitters aging in a Madeira wine cask and his charm. “What I fell in love with was bartending, not just the search for flavors, but the hospitality, that social aspect. I want to continue moving forward and keep learning.”

Advanced Mixology: Featured Mixologist

Written by: Shawn Soole in Chilled Magazine

“Not many people can attest to creating a classic cocktail that epidemically spread across the USA and then the world, but Jeffrey Morgenthaler has done just that. His Richmond Gimlet has become a modern day classic on which he can put his claim to fame. When googled, the Richmond Gimlet comes up with over a thousand links, true testament to a drink that was created purely by chance. Jeffrey Morgenthaler is an Oregon based bartender with a penchant for blogging, organizing events and overseeing the Oregon Bartenders Guild. All of this from a guy whose passion grew after jumping behind the bar one summer while studying for his degree in Architecture.”

Punch: It’s Not Just for the Holidays Anymore

Written by: Steven Stern in The New York Times

“Eggnog, that other holiday favorite, has a separate lineage as well: technically it is a “flip,” as Jeffrey Morgenthaler notes on his cocktail blog, at www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com. He devised a streamlined version for Bel Ami, a restaurant in Eugene, Ore., and serves it from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. “I really wanted to have eggnog in a bar,” he said. “It’s not something you ever see. People go crazy for it.”

“A serious student of classic drinks, Mr. Morgenthaler happily bucks tradition with his nog, whipping up small batches in that clever anachronism, the blender. He’s convinced that his recipe — which is creamy but not gelatinous, and doesn’t require separating the eggs — improves on the original. There are times, he said, when “it’s O.K. to go against history.””