K&L Guest Post: Barrel-Aged Negronis

When David & David first started bringing in fancy barrel aged cocktails to the shelves of K&L I just shook my head and dismissed them. I could only think of one thing- those cheesy cans of “Club” screwdriver and pina-colada from the 1980’s mixed with the cheapest hooch and lowest quality ingredients available. My lovely wife Cinnamon bought one of these fancy things and brought it home, forced me to try it, and (once again) a great drink made a liar out of me. These new fangled barrel aged cocktails are the real thing! The inspiring bottle was the Fluid Dynamics Brandy Manhattan Cocktail, and I was hooked.

I started pestering Driscoll immediately about barrels, and tasting as many barrel aged cocktails as I could at the best bars in the area. When I got my own barrel it was on, and I knew what I had to make- my favorite cocktail of all… The Negroni. This was an extremely fun project for Cinnamon, my buddy Henry Hiatt and I, and it took more than one beer to get it done. The video is from our second filling of what was a brand new, American oak barrel. The first batch we bottled after just three weeks as the oak flavor was in danger of impacting the drink. The batch you see us filling in the video was kept for two months, and the next batch we might push to three. Tasting along the way is critical, and if you plan to keep a barrel for a long time, so is topping up.

To top up, simply blend a 750ml bottle with the same proportions that already went into the barrel. We found having Negroni on tap to be an incredible blessing (no mixing) and an incredible curse (no mixing- I’ll just grab another) and I think you will too. Try it out, it is super fun! A toast to you!

–Gary Westby

David Driscoll