For a while now, we’ve been cycling drinks through our little two liter barrel, trying out the effects of aging on a drink. If you want to try it at home (and we recommend you do. It’s a fun science experiment with a unique and delicious cocktail at the end), the rules are pretty simple:
- Use a young (i.e. clear) spirit, because they will be most dramatically affected by a little bit of time in a barrel. What’s another three weeks or so to something that’s already been aging for 7 years?
- Fortified wines also respond well to aging;
- Your recipe should be alcohol-only, because juices and sugars could go bad;
- Taste your casked cocktail every 7 days, and remove it from the cask when you feel like it’s done.
For our most recent round, we decided to follow the example of the Scandinavians themselves by treating an aquavit cocktail to some time resting in a cask. Our recipe of choice was the Trident, an aquavit variation on the Negroni created by Robert Hess of drinkboy.com. It fit the bill: alcohol only, with a generous amount of fortified wine and a young spirit–plus we’re always fans of trying a new variation on the Negroni.
We tried the Trident un-aged first, and liked it. It’s interestingly sour, and just bitter enough to make you pay attention. Compared to the aged version, though, the young Trident comes across a little front-loaded, with a busy foretaste (of dill, bitter, and sweet) and a thin follow. The cask aged version is more smooth and whole. There’s less bitterness–which we kind of missed–but the dill flavor remains; the sweetness is richer; and the taste lasts longer.
Either one’s a good drink. We think it just depends on your mood.
Trident Cocktail Recipe
- 1 oz aquavit
- 1 oz dry sherry
- 1 oz Amaro Cynar
- 2 dashes peach bitters
- lemon twist, to garnish
- Combine all the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass.
- Fill the mixing glass with ice to the level of the liquid.
- Stir until the ice has noticeably melted.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.