Tips for how to barrel-age and batch your drinks (like this Barrel-Aged Negroni)

Barrel-Aged Negroni

  • 1 x 700ml bottle of Star of Bombay
  • 1 x 700ml bottle of Campari
  • 700ml Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino Vermouth

Pour all ingredients into a clean barrel. Put in a corner of your bar and wait, testing each week until it’s ready.

Story by Sam Bygrave
Photographs by Christopher Pearce
Presented by Sebastian Cosmo Soto, Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern

BARREL-AGEING cocktails is more commonplace than ever, and the mysterious results you get from the interplay between cocktail and barrel have found favour with customers who want something from your bar that they simply cannot find elsewhere. Places like Manhattan at the Regent Singapore, for instance, have taken barrel-ageing to the extreme in their in-house rickhouse. The places holds a hundred-odd barrels in which various spirits are ageing, and for their cocktails, they’ve implemented a solera system.

But it’s pretty simple to get started with your own barrel-ageing cocktail program. All you need is a clean barrel, a great cocktail made with high-proof spirits (we’ve used the 47.5% ABV Star of Bombay), and time.

Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern has played around with this before, and Dardan Shervashidze suggests one key piece of equipment is necessary whether you’re barrel ageing or batching cocktails for high-volume service in large quantities.


“The one thing that’s important to have?” he says. “A calculator. You don’t trust bartender math, you get the millage right and you nail it.”

The next consideration is whether or not you need to add water to your batch. If you’re barrel-ageing, forget about it, but if you’re batching for a keg to run the cocktail through on tap, you need to account for the dilution you’d otherwise have had making it to order.

“When we run our Sazerac through the tap, we have to account for the dilution because we pour it straight into the glass, it’s chilled on the way through,” Shervashidze says.

And lastly, for barrel-ageing, you want to use higher proof spirits because you’re going to lose some punch in flavour to the wood of the barrel, and then you’re going to want keep an eye on it, says Ramblin’ Rascal’s Michael Thurbin.

“You don’t want to leave it in there too long,” he says. “Using a small barrel takes on the wood much, much quicker. If you leave it there for a few months, it can get a little too intense.” 

Steps:1. Add the Star of Bombay. 2. Then add the Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino Vermouth. 3. Add your Campari, and let them rest. 4. When it comes to serving from the tap, make sure to give it a good stir. 5. Strain over great ice. 6. Garnish with an orange and serve with style.

Notes on ingredients*

  • Star of Bombay was the w inner of 2016 Best London Dry Gin at the International Wine & Spirits Competition.
  • Star of Bombay is slow-distilled with 12 sustainably sourced botanicals, producing a richer, more intense flavour as there is more time to extract the perfect flavour from botanicals.
  • The Bombay Spirits Company was the winner of the Sustainable Spirit Award at Tales of the Cocktail 2017. Bombay gins are produced at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, England, one of the most sustainable distilleries in the world.

Tasting notes
Star of Bombay
Smooth, bright and complex. Bergamot Orange and Ambrette Seed add a layer of spicy citrus and a floral muskiness. This smooth spirit makes a captivating martini that is alive and bright.
Distributed by Bacardi-Martini Australia

Notes provided by Star of Bombay.