Thursday, June 30, 2011


I'll start right off and say this wasn't my idea. The idea originated from a Master Distiller of a micro-distillery who mentioned it to a friend of mine. Fast forward a number of weeks and I'm sitting on friends back patio commenting on how delicious the Manhattan is. He proceeds to show me his barrel which is full of Manhattan deliciousness.

Ok, so not to assume that everyone knows what a Manhattan is, this is a typical classic recipe:

2 oz Bourbon or Rye.5 oz of

Sweet Vermouth

2 shakes of Bitters

Couple Maraschino cherries with a little of the cherry juice to taste.

Pour into rocks glass filled with ice.

I've blogged about my re-barrel projects and it so happens the barrel was sitting empty. I put the barrel in the kitchen sink and proceeded to fill it with water and of course it leaked like a rusty tuna boat. Water was pouring from the seams. Did I panic you say? Nope. The barrel was dry having sit empty for a while so I expected it to leak. I kept refilling the barrel to keep it full and after a couple of hours, the leaking slowed and then stopped altogether. I let it sit overnight full of water to make sure the barrel was well saturated.

For my Manhattan concoction (and that's what it was) I proceed to pull together the following:

1.75L Tom Moore Bottled in Bond (a Barton product)

275ml of various Rye whisky mini's left over from a recent double blind tasting

500ml of all 10 recipes of Four Roses single barrel also left over from a recent blind tasting

These all went into the barrel. I then added approximately 600ml of Sweet Vermouth, a tablespoon of Blood Orange Bitters and Maraschino cherry liquor to taste (approx. 1oz). The stopper went back into the barrel and I proceeded to gently roll the barrel to get the concoction mixed up.

How did it taste? Well, I'm sippin a glass right now as I type and I must say it turned out pretty darn tasty. I think the Maraschino liquor and Blood Orange Bitters gives it a unique taste from the classic Manhattan recipe. The barrel contains about 3L of mix so I'll be enjoying this for a while and also enjoy the benefit of a little barrel aging as I go along.

I'm not content to just sip my whiskey, now I'm playing mad scientist.


  1. Doesn't sound like you're "mad" at all, just having the biggest Manhattan ever! Be sure to let us know how, if at all, it changes with age.

  2. Will do Gary. I'm gonna have to resist drinking it too fast in order to let it meld in the barrel.

  3. That's pretty hilarious haha! Now I'm in the mood for a Manhattan. Good thing it's a quarter to five!

  4. I'm guessing that thanks are due to David Perkins at High West and his ingenious "36th Vote" barrel aged Manhattan, which I think is damn near exquisite.

    Congrats on your own voluminous attempt. No wonder Al Quaeda hates us!

  5. Can we assume that you've been inspired by High West's 36th Vote, a pretty damn good barrel aged Manhattan from a creative distiller?

    Can't argue with your approach, though, and look forward to hearing how it ages over the next couple of months...if it lasts that long!

  6. Sam - you are correct. I actually didn't pick it up directly from David but through a friend who picked up the same idea from David.

  7. Conducted a recent re-fill....a 750ml of Old Bourbon Hollow Bonded along with the add-ins. I'm thinking the barrel is going to need to be kept filled for the long cold winter coming soon enough.