Like fine wine, cocktails can also be improved with age. Sticking spirits in an oak barrel allows them to mellow and mature, while imparting some of the flavour of the wood. Of course, this is exactly how whiskey and bourbon are made, but of late some committed bartenders have been experimenting - with amazing results.
One of the most impressive aged cocktails going around is the Aged Negroni. We recently enjoyed a truly incredible version at CAMA A.T.K. in Hanoi, and its founder Giles kindly revealed their secret. Do note, however, that while an Aged Negroni isn’t difficult as such, it’s probably one that’s for the hardcore Cocktail Revolutionary.
First up, you’ll need a barrel. You probably don’t have one of these just lying around the house, but you can pick one up online for under 50 bucks. It’s probably advisable just to get a little barrel - either one or two litres - otherwise you’ll need to make a lot of Negroni…
Assuming you want to make a litre, begin to make up a classic Negroni in its usual proportions: equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. Pour the mixture into the barrel through a funnel, and leave it in there for at least a month, or three if you’re keen. Once it’s good and oaky, you can transfer it to a bottle, or, conversely, you can drink it straight from the barrel.
To serve, simply pour over ice, stir and add a twist of orange.