How To Barrel Age Your Cocktails at Home

Want to start aging your cocktails? This is how to properly barrel age your cocktails for delicious results!

How To Barrel Age Your Cocktails at Home

The majority of drinkers love a great signature cocktail of their choice. Whether they're into more fruity cocktails or can't get enough of the bitter ones, there are so many ways you can create cocktails. From the types of spirits and liquor to the additions like juices, sodas, and other mixers, there are tons and tons of ways you can whip up a great-tasting cocktail. Even though some people like to keep it simple and light with a two-mix cocktail, there are others who throw in a bunch of ingredients, because they want their cocktail to be loaded with flavors. And how can we blame them? Cocktails should be fun drinks!

As for these drinks, did you know that you can age cocktails? We've heard about aging other types of alcohol like wine, whiskey, and even beer. But a cocktail? Don't underestimate aging cocktails, because they actually taste phenomenal when you've correctly aged them. In fact, many people think aged cocktails taste so much more better, because the flavors mellow together and develop a distinct taste that you wouldn't be able to get from a cocktail straight out of the bottle. If you want to start aging your cocktails right at home, this is how you properly barrel age your cocktails for more delectable-tasting drinks.

You'll need to gather the supplies.

For starters, you’re going to need the right supplies and equipment for this awesome process. Since barrel aging cocktails takes time, there are certainly materials you’ll need to actually do it right. First, and the most important, is to get an oak cask. The oak cask is your barrel, and this is where your cocktail sits in the entire time. Then you’re going to need a drip tray that’s designed to capture all of the drips and spillage that’ll possibly leak from your cask.

A large capacity bowl or a mixing vessel is where you begin to blend all of your cocktails. You can get yourself any ordinary mixing bowl straight from your kitchen. And don’t forget about a graduated measuring cup to properly measure all of the ingredients. Liquor… obviously! Then finally, get your fine strainer and bottles to fill your aged cocktail in at the end! Doesn't seem like a lot of supplies and materials, right?

Pick your cocktail.

Now, this is the main step to barrel age your cocktails: picking your cocktail. You certainly want to pick a cocktail that you know you love and will enjoy it even more after the barrel aging process. If you intend on sharing your aged cocktails with family and friends, then choose a cocktail you know everyone will love. But if it's just for yourself... be selfish about it and pick what you like!

If you enjoy a cocktail that's straight out of the bottle, than you'll surely love it after it's been aged in a barrel. When your favorite cocktail is aging, all of the ingredients in the mixer are mellowing and mingling together and basically becoming one drink. The ingredients form together to create the most delectable and flavorful beverage you'll ever have.

Grab other supplies for the process.

You know which cocktail you'll be aging and you have your supplies with you; it's time to put those supplies and equipment to good use. To barrel age your cocktails, you constantly want your material to be right by your side. Instead of fumbling through your kitchen for semi-accurate materials, know what you need and keep it by you.

And since there are specific materials and supplies that you'll need, like I mentioned before, be two steps ahead in the game. The supplies are designed to complete certain tasks when you're barrel aging your cocktail.

Start preparing your cask! This is probably one of the most important steps to barrel age your cocktails. You're going to need your oak cask to fill your cocktail mixture in. Plus, you wouldn't want to get your hands on a big barrel, because you're aging a cocktail. For a good-size barrel, this one by Sofia's Findings is ideal when it comes to aging your cocktails. For three liters of American white oak wood, this barrel can keep your cocktail mixture fresh as well as extracting natural flavors from the wood that will benefit your beverage's overall taste. Not to mention that this barrel is among the best gifts for whiskey lovers.

Once you've gotten your barrel, it must be prepared by first installing the spigot and afterwards soaking the barrel in water. Through time, the cask’s staves will eventually dry out and even shrink, and this is where you’ll need to rehydrate them. You’re going to need about 48 hours, but make sure you do a test fill with water before you add in your elixir. Also, don’t forget to test the spigot to guarantee that it allows liquid to flow out with the plug removed.

Blend all of the ingredients together.

It's only normal to blend all of the cocktail ingredients together when you barrel age your cocktails! When you've got the exact ingredients to make the cocktail, combine them all and mix thoroughly. You don't want to forget one ingredient and have to rush to the store to get it.

You can combine all of the ingredients in that large mixing bowl that you've been keeping on the side. And once you know that you put in all the right ingredients and mixed well, it's time to move the mixture to the cask!

Cask the cocktail.

This is the best part, casking your cocktail. From how to barrel age your cocktails, you want to pour in all of your cocktail mixture into your oak barrel. However, the best way possible to avoid any major spillage is by using a funnel to pour everything in. And trust me, you definitely don't want to spill a single drop of your delicious cocktail.

Your prepared oak cask should be in the best state to be used now. You want to make sure you've gone through the barrel preparation before putting in your cocktail. If you don't, then the aging process won't be accurate and there's a chance your cocktail won't taste as amazing.

Now you wait.

Patience is certainly key when it comes to barrel age your cocktails! You're not waiting a couple of hours, but rather four to six weeks. Yes, even when you're aging cocktails, the process is pretty... pretty long. But it's definitely worth it in the end, because your favorite cocktail will taste even more amazing once the waiting time is over.

Even though the general waiting time is about four to six weeks, this can vary depending on the cocktail you're aging. Usually, the resting cocktail should be tasted to identify the flavor that mainly appeals to you. But either way, yes, it takes a few weeks for your cocktail to properly age to develop amazing taste like you've never tasted before.

Decant the cocktail.

Once those weeks are over, now you decant the cocktail mix into your bottles! When you're decanting your cocktail, you want to use the strainer in order to catch any particles that's formed during the aging process. You can your cocktail to be smooth without any particles floating in your drink when pouring them in your bottles.

However, if you don't want to use multiple bottles, you can simply store your aged cocktail in a regular decanter. So whenever you want to enjoy your beverage, you can pour some of the aged cocktail into a glass straight from the decanter. And once you've aged your cocktail once, you'll never go back to drinking regular cocktails again.

Lastly, to barrel age your cocktails, you actually don't have to use a oak cask. You can simple use a large, glass jar instead! And this kit by UncommonGoods is certainly ideal for someone who doesn't want to go through the barrel process and is looking to age a much smaller batch. With this, you can pour in your cocktail mixture, put in the charred oak inserts, and wait about two weeks for the beverage to age. Plus, this kit is a great home bar essential for any private bartender.

This kit allows you to make a much smaller batch of your favorite cocktail and this is easier to store anywhere you like. The charred oak inserts are designed to give your cocktail a more flavorful taste, just like how an oak cask would do. Many people prefer using this kit because it's easier to store and they can personally make their own aged cocktails just for themselves!

Jennifer Violet
Jennifer Violet
Read next: Whiskey: A Guide and History
Jennifer Violet

Bakes sweets ever Thursday and donates them to her local homeless shelter. Is an owner to five pugs and can count to 500 in French.

See all posts by Jennifer Violet