Over the summer, my husband and I were at a restaurant in NJ that was serving Barrel Aged Nigroni. David loves Nigronis and had never had an aged version before. He started talking to the bartender and you know when you meet one of those people that is just like a kindred spirit, part of the same nerd club as you are, mutual respect type of thing? Well David and the bartender kind of clicked and when David said he wanted to make his own barrel aged Nigroni, the dude GAVE us a barrel if we promised to bring back a glass for him to drink.
Lo and behold, its three months later and we have decanters of blood red liquor all over the apartment, but also, a little barrel sitting in the corner. I think we are on our third batch. And also looking into aging other types of drinks in the barrel.
It happens to be a delicious drink, although it may be something of an acquired taste for those who aren’t used to bitters.
The basic tenants of the drink are: equal parts GIN, SWEET VERMOUTH and CAMPARI.
First you must acquire a barrel and if its new, fill it with water for 24 hours, so that the wood spreads and it wont leak. (When the water comes out it smells exactly like scotch! Until you see what the barrel does to the taste of water, you cant really comprehend the taste in other drink.)
Then you fill the barrel with equal parts of GIN, SWEET VERMOUTH AND CAMPARI using a funnel and let it sit for a month. You can and should taste the drink as it ages. After a month, run it through a coffee filter and store in a glass decanter indefinitely. It’s a great way to seem fancy and MadMen-y when guests come over “Would you like some house made barrel aged Nigroni?” Plus, I finally have something to do with all the decanters I got as wedding gifts 7 years ago.
Serve with ice, we like the 1″ cubes, and garnish with a piece of orange rind.