04 August 2010

Vintage/Aged Manhattans: Part 2 problem solved??

So six years ago when I first put down the first tests for the aged Manhattans both in glass and with glass and staves, then later in small barrels. After a relatively short period both "wooded" examples got too woody far too quickly, and tipped the balance towards the too woody, even when I used smaller chips to try and minimize this. This lead me to abandon the process as the aim was always to see how far the process could be pushed; at five and a half years it's still going strong (i can't imagine it working wooded for that amount of time! both with wood flavour and oxizidation). In a recent conversation with Mr. McGee I had asked him what he thought was happening in the aging process in the bottle and we strayed into a conversation about aging the cocktails in wood. We concurred that what was happening when you were aging with wood was adding more flavour (in this case a flavour that already exists in the bourbon: hence the tipping the balance thorough wood aging). In comparison what happens in the glass was that the flavours are aging in on themselves creating smaller and more subtle flavours making a smoother drink without adding extraneous flavour.

With the recent conversations about aging cocktails, the barrel thing has come up repeatly, seeing as it's an idea that still appeals to me on a romantic level, I had a little think as to how I could get this to work.....???? ...... the obvious solution would be to use white dog but if you think about it logically you would then "wood out" the vermouth! So back to basics- how can you get both bourbon/vermouth on a level playing field? You would need to strip the wood heavy flavours out of both.... As I had done a long time ago (see manhattan steel corp post) [see also Dave and Tony Post Scotchka post] put the Manhattan through the Rota vap to create a very clean steely (yet pleasant) Manhattan so I figured that if I used this process to strip a lot of the heavy wood and base flavours out of the cocktail, I could then age without having worry about tipping it into the too woody!!

So here goes a stripped Manhattan (or Manhattan Steel corp. very drinkable in its own right!!) and in glass with wood:

In a red wine barrel: (Just in case lose to much vermouth wine flavours)

We will post more as results come out!!

Tony C

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