What Cocktails can I make with a Barrel-Aged Gin?

What Cocktails can I make with a Barrel-Aged Gin?
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A couple of years ago, you could have been forgiven for never having heard of barrel-aged gin or yellow gin. The term “Aged” is used to refer to it because it differs from normal gin in that it has been aged for some time in a barrel; “Yellow” refers to the distinctive hue which can range anywhere from a slight tint* to a deep brown, a la Whiskey or a Good Rye.


This recent expansion in the art of aged gin in barrels has seen limited edition releases from Few Spirits, Roundhouse Spirits, Smooth Ambler Spirits, Breuckelen Distilling, and that’s just in the past year. More are on the way. Since you’re bound to see a bottle on the shelf at your local liquor store sooner rather than later, I’m here to help answer the question that is surely on your mind: what cocktails can I make with Aged Gin?


First, a Classic Gin Cocktail where Barrel-Aged Gin Shines

The Negroni cocktail is my go-to cocktail for trying an barrel-aged Gin.

Barrel-Aged Negroni cocktail

1 part Aged Gin
1 part Sweet Vermouth
1 part Campari
Stir w/ ice and serve.

Just the right amount of sweetness, bitterness, and room for the gin to shine. This cocktail works so well for the same reason a Manhattan is a classic among bourbon drinkers. The sweet of the Vermouth and the Campari brighten up the drink, while the dark-oak notes, and woody tones come through offering a spicy, but only mildly juniper-centric take on the Negroni cocktail. I prefer the darker, bolder barrel-aged gins in this cocktail. Specifically I’ve found that Smooth Ambler’s recent barrel-aged gin and Few Spirit’s barrel-aged gin work extremely well here, both owing to the grain base still retaining hints of the grain flavor which adds an even more whiskey like note to this drink.


Now, a throwback Gin Cocktail that really shines with Barrel-Aged Gin

The Martinez is often cited as the precursor to the Martini, despite there being not a whole lot of consensus as to what goes into the thing. The most common formula seems to focus on swapping out the dry vermouth for a sweet, and adding a bit Maraschino and/or citrus flavor. I like a little bit of both in mine.


Yellow Martinez

4 parts gin
2 part Sweet Vermouth
1 part Maraschino
3 dashes of Orange Bitters [I actually really like Fee Brothers because they’re slightly more bitter, but there’s a lot going on here, so a subtle orange flavor might be lost. Give the bitters Yellow Martinez cocktailan extra shake, no one’s looking or judging.]

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and serve. Garnish with orange rind if you’re feeling fancy.

For those new to barrel-aged gin in general or those in search of a cocktail which downplays the wood and oak notes just a bit more than the other cocktails in this post, I recommend this cocktail.




And finally, a cocktail more often associated with other Spirits
But that’s not the final word on the topic. Though more often than not, Bourbon is the spirit of choice for the Old Fashioned, variations on one of the earliest cocktails are common place. Brandy was a popular substitute at one point; Rum Old Fashioned cocktails have made the rounds at popular cocktail bars. Heck, even the Gin Old Fashioned had a hey-day in the 1940s.


A Gin Old Fashioned

1 tsp. of sugar (dissolve in 2 tsp. of water) –or- a tsp. of simple syrup. Either or. But important to do this step first!
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
3 parts gin
add a single ice cube, and stir together.


This cocktail is a perfect way to bring a bourbon drinker into the world of gin. My favorite gin for this variation is the Imperial Barrel-Aged Gin from Roundhouse Spirits. I like the way that the chamomile and cinnamon notes shine, while the juniper is highlighted in the background by the addition of just a tiny bit of sugar.

*Though Aged Gin is a current phenomenon, the most popular gin in the United States is Seagram’s, which is actually “rested” in oak barrels for nearly 3 months. Despite this fact, Seagram’s bottle doesn’t boldly use the word “Yellow” or “Aged” anywhere prominently.


Aaron Knoll

Website || www.theGINisIN.com

Twitter || @theGINisIN

Email || theginisin@gmail.com


Written by Guest Author

Posted: October 4, 2012