Austin While some drink trends are just really, really bad ideas (looking at you, "vodka eyeballing"), cocktails that have spent some time in an oak barrel have the dual benefit of being delicious and not causing vision loss. The aging technique works best with spirit-based cocktails, which don't have components that spoil -- sorry, berry mojito fans. Spending weeks or longer in a wood barrel adds character and helps meld ingredients into one smooth flavor with soft layers. Here are five prime examples to get your hands on:
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Mettle East Sixth Mettle's current barrel-aged beauty, hiding out at the far end of East Sixth, is the Tequila Negroni, a perfectly balanced mix of Republic Tequila Plata, Casoni 1814, Campari, and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. Grab a drink and stay for their happy hour which includes bites like fried Cotija cheese, because fried cheese is timeless.
The Hightower East Seventh Try the Urban Cowboy, made with locally made Waterloo Antique gin (this is the barrel-aged component), sugar, and five-spice bitters. It's spicy, Summery, and will spark a fun debate about John Travolta's best work. Hint: it's not the one with the talking baby.
The Bonneville Cesar Chavez With a rotating barrel-aging program, The Bonneville's Bloody Mary, made with barrel-aged vodka (infused with pepper, chili, and basil), is already getting attention -- they now have a citrus-based cocktail called the Muddy Waters made with aged, local 512 tequila. Stay tuned for a Manhattan, coming very soon!
Odd Duck South Lamar The cocktail program at Odd Duck is curated by GM Jason James along with the rest of the Odd Duck crew, with a section of the menu specially dedicated to barrel-aged cocktails, including a classic Negroni, Manhattan, and our favorite, The 12 Year Itch -- El Dorado 12-Year rum, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and Fernet Branca.
Swift’s Attic Downtown Come to Swift's Attic for the Je Ne Sais Quoi, with Hennessy VSOP, Sacred Rosehip Cup Liqueur, Carpano Punt e Mes sweet vermouth, and apple bitters all aged in, and pulled straight from, a charred barrel. There's something really special about this drink, we just can't put our finger on it…