Pardon The Punctuation...After having a an amazing barrel aged Manhattan at Baco Mercat in Los Angeles I was inspired to create my own interpretation at home. Five liters sounded like the right barrel size for me so picked one up at the Buffalo Trace distillery while on a recent trip to Kentucky.
First I had to decide on the whiskey...well Costco made that an easy decision for me. They had the 1.75 liter bottle of Bulleit Rye on sale for $32. A killer deal. It's a solid rye that's full of flavor and should age well. A rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't drink it on the rocks then you shouldn't age it in a barrel. This doesn't mean that you should barrel age a $100 bottle of bourbon. No way. All I'm saying is don't use crappy stuff.
Next the Vermouth. I used Perucchi Gran Reserva from Spain. It runs about $20 and is an outstanding example of Spanish sweet vermouth. Made with over 40 different ingredients and is great on its own or in a Manhattan. Definitely worth a few more bucks to buy the good stuff.
Lastly the bitters. I went with the traditional Angostura aromatic bitters. This is something I'll probably play around with the next barrel I age.
y last spin. When I make a Manhattan at home I garnish with a port wine soaked cherry. In honor of this I added about 100ml or port to finish the barrel and give my signature.
Here's what to do. Seal your barrel according to whatever instructions came with it. For me I just filled it with water for about a day or so and that was that...sealed. Then mix all of your ingredients and funnel them into the barrel. Done and done. I'm going to start tasting after about 4 weeks. I hear the sweet spot is between 7-8 weeks. Once you like the taste, filter it and bottle away. You don't want to leave it in your barrel forever. I'm going to reuse the Bulleit bottles and some mason jars I have laying around.
4,200ml of Bourbon
175ml of Angostura Bitters
518ml of Perucchi Sweet Vermouth
100ml of Port Wine