Barrel-Aged Bourbon Manhattan
Disclosure: I received the Personalized Whiskey Barrel and Whiskey Ice Balls featured in this post at no cost from UncommonGoods. My full review of this barrel and the ice molds from UncommonGoods also includes a homemade recipe for the best bourbon manhattan in town. The views and opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.
My husband is a bourbon drinker. It's an acquired taste. Lately he's been enjoying barrel-aged bourbon in his Manhattan cocktails.
If you like the flavor of whiskey or bourbon, then this Manhattan cocktail is for you. It's a twist on a classic.
A Manhattan is traditionally made with bourbon and sweet vermouth. What makes this recipe so special is that it uses quality bourbon that has been aged in its own mini whiskey barrel and infused with the flavors from the cask.
My husband adds maraschino liqueur which imparts a sharp, sweet cherry flavor to this cocktail and tops it off with dark cherries. The two easiest liqueur brands to find are Luxardo ($30 a bottle) and Cristiani ($20).
Dark cherries are what you would typically find in a classic Manhattan. Stay away from the Shirley Temple cherries with this recipe. Our go-to brand is Luxardo.
Luxardo maraschino cherries are dark sour marasca cherries that are candied and steeped in a syrup made of cherry juice and sugar. They are found in the liquor department with the liqueur and bitters. While Luxardo cherries can be pricey, do not substitute for the neon variety.
A 5-liter miniature oak barrel is the perfect size for accentuating the flavor of quality whiskeys and bourbons.
The barrel ages your choice of liquor to peak flavor just like the full-size barrels found in professional distilleries. A personalized engraving makes this barrel a special gift and keepsake.
After curing the barrel for a few days, he added a good quality bourbon and left it to age for least 30 days.
Now that the bourbon has aged and is ready to drink, it's time to enjoy it in your favorite Manhattan cocktail.
Another way we are using the barrel is to create enough of our favorite cocktails and using the barrel to age them. Be sure to scroll down for the two recipes below.
If you'd rather enjoy your barrel aged bourbon as is with just a touch of honey, then check out the Barrel Aged Honey Bourbon recipe below. It only needs 14 days in the barrel because it uses premium bourbon already double aged.
Here is where the jumbo whiskey ice balls come into play. They are perfect for sipping honey infused bourbon alone because they melt slower. They cool your drink without watering it down. "Sheer perfection" as my husband would say.
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A special thanks to friend Jesse Peele for his wisdom & guidance in creating the recipes.
Barrel Aged Bourbon Manhattans (Single cocktail recipe)
Serves 1. Total time: 5 minutes. Printable recipes
- 3 parts barrel aged bourbon
- 1 part maraschino liqueur
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 to 3 Luxardo cherries
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Combine the bourbon, maraschino liqueur, vermouth, and bitters. Shake well. Transfer to a rocks glass and top with cherries.
Barrel Aged Bourbon Manhattans (Barrel recipe)
- 3 liters bourbon (We used Bulleit)
- 750 ml maraschino liqueur
- 750 ml sweet vermouth
- 2 ounces Angostura bitters (half bottle)
Mix together the ingredients and pour into a 5L barrel. Age for 28 days but no longer than 60 days. Transfer to bottles if necessary. To make a smaller amount, divide the ingredients accordingly.
As the barrel get reused the aging process shortens because the barrel will impart the wood flavor more quickly after multiple uses.
Once aged, strain the barrel-aged cocktail and pour over ice. Garnish with Luxardo cherries.
Barrel Aged Honey Bourbon
- 4 750ml bottles of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon
- 1 quart of local organic honey
Heat the jar of honey in a pot of water to thin it out. Once thinned, pour into the barrel using a funnel. Next add the bourbon and age it for 14-21 days, no longer. Return the aged bourbon to the bottle to enjoy on occasions.