I put down a batch of Deschlers in a brand new two liter charred oak barrel on April 9th, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.  Yesterday, four and a half weeks later, I decanted them after a tiny taste test.

OMG.  The cocktail gods have smiled on me.

These are the best thing I’ve had since Craig’s oaked / sous vide Negronis at SPUR.  The aging took the heat off the Old Overholt rye, added some oak, and married all the flavors.  They’ve got hints of vanilla, pepper, and caramel, and the mouthfeel is incredibly creamy.  The two liter barrel yielded two 750ml bottles, and they ain’t gonna last long. 

I don’t remember the exact quantities I used, but I scaled up from this recipe.

1.5 oz Old Overholt rye
1 oz red Dubonnet
.25 oz Cointreau
Two dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Drop an orange and a lemon peel in the shaker, stir, then garnish with an orange peel dropped in the drink.  Or both orange and lemon peels, if you’re me. 

That barrel is getting used again for Deschlers.  The Old Overholt will go in again.  It’s perfect for this – about $17 a bottle here, yet good quality, and rounds out perfectly with the barrel aging.  I’ll probably have to put them down a few more weeks the second time out – it will require some regular taste tests.  The next new barrel I buy will be for Negronis.

If you’re interested in trying that barrel aging thing, I highly recommend Oak Barrels Ltd .  Their barrels are perfect, come in a bunch of useful sizes, and their customer service is wonderful.  Just don’t forget to soak your barrel for several hours before you fill it, or you’ll be licking booze off your counter.