Barrel-aging is making quite the splash. Cocktails are at the forefront of that trend but the barrel is reaching beyond. Chef Jared Brant of Phat Thai in Cherry Creek is experimenting with barrel-aging fish sauce. This is a first attempt at creating a more complex flavor profile after owner and chef Mark Fisher tasted a commercially-available barrel-aged fish sauce. The product had depth and smoothness and a distinct smoky sweetness from the bourbon maple barrel. The Phat Thai crew got its hands on a few St. George barrels. First, the bartenders made some cocktails in them, then one barrel made it into the kitchen. As we speak, the fish sauce is aging in there. There might be months before it's ready.
At the Green Russell, the seasonal menu currently features two oak aged selections for cocktails. The Old Tom, which features Leopold's Navy Strength Gin, Carpano Antica, yellow Chartreuse, and Maraschino is served up with an orange shaving. The Palisade Diamondback, made with Peach Street Palisade Peach Brandy, Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, and green and yellow Chartreuse, is served in a low ball glass with an hand-carved ice sphere.
Colt & Gray just finished a first run of a barrel-aged cocktail that sold out in one week. The drink, Storming the Castle, contained Hudson 100% rye whisky, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Carpano Punt E Mes, and Luxardo Maraschino. It was served in an absinthe rinsed glass. There is another cocktail hanging out in a barrel at Colt & Gray, one that follows a similar structure but with a bit more winter spice. This one is not quite ready to be served, but stay tuned.
Gaetano's bartender, Kyle West, took the Cap Rock gin that the restaurant has on tap and made a gin, Aperol, sweet vermouth, and spiced honey cocktail that he then placed in a Wild Turkey barrel for a few days to infuse some of the wood notes of the barrel in the drink. West moved the barrel-aged drink to rest in a coconut. This cocktail is served up with an orange twist and a flame of green Chartreuse.