Oral History of Barrel-Aged Cocktails

Punch published another one of my oral histories about the advent of a modern cocktail technique–this time, barrel-aged cocktails. It was fun to find out about Philip Duff’s heretofore unheralded assist in making this phenomenon happen.



I may be forgetting—to borrow a phrase from Joe Desmond, “I drink”—but, I feel I haven’t had a barrel aged cocktail in quite a while now. I think I’d sort of assumed they’d gone away.

No. You’ll find them everywhere, especially in the smaller markets. It’s just that we’ve grown so used to them…

I really enjoy these oral history recaps. I also like that the people involved look back on the topics as collaborative.

Right there with you. Haven’t seen one on a menu in ages. Years ago, when I was tending bar at the Berkshire Room in Chicago, we had a whole slew of barrel aged cocktails we rested in full-size barrels. There was a Negroni, Manhattan, a brown and stirred number called the Old Money, and if I remember correctly a Martinez. People loved them.

Since then I haven’t come across anything that spent much time resting aside from the spirits themselves and the regrettable glass of KJ Chardonnay my mother in law poured me last weekend.

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Thanks. It’s interesting asking these people to recall things that happened ten or 15 years ago.