Have you heard of barrel-aged cocktails? No? Well, you're not alone, since there's only one bar in S.F. doing them at the moment, but you're soon to see plenty more if we had to guess. The current mini-trend started with Jeff Morgenthaler, bartender at Clyde Common in Portland, and from there it got picked up in the NYT, and spread to bars in New York, Boston, and here. The deal is this: a spirit-driven cocktail is pre-mixed and put into a used bourbon barrel for four to eight weeks. The result is something slightly smoother, mellower, with a lingering finish, and a touch higher in alcohol than what went in there, due to some natural evaporation.
Blackbird bartenders Brent and Regina Butler have done a few rounds at Blackbird now, starting with a delicious aged Martinez (Old Tom gin, maraschino, vermouth, bitters), and currently they've got a couple barrels worth of a tequila and white creme de cacao drink, as well as our featured cocktail below, the Bonnie & Clyde. Appropriately enough, this mixture that Regina came up with uses unaged white whiskey as its base. Give it a try if you're up there, though we might not recommend trying this one at home without studying up on techniques... lest you waste a whole bunch of good booze.
Bonnie & Clyde
1 Barrel is filled with the following - the portion per drink breaks down as the following
1.5 oz. High West Silver Whiskey
0.5 oz. J Witty Chamomile Liqueur
1 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
2 dashes Bar Code Baked Apple Bitters
It's all mixed up in larger quantities and aged in a bourbon barrel for one month, and the barrel is only used once. It's served chilled, stirred, and straight up.