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The Mature Your Own Kit range has been expanded to include cocktails - excellent news! If you've ever enjoyed a delicious Manhattan cocktail and wondered how cask-ageing it would impact the depth of flavour, this is almost spookily perfect for you. It contains a 1 litre (well – 1-and-a-bit litres) freshly toasted American oak barrel of medium-to-heavy char and 2 x 50cl bottles of the Handmade Cocktail Company's Manhattan Cocktail.
Directions: Put the Manhattan cocktail into the barrel (using the dinky little stainless steel funnel provided), wait for a few days or weeks (don't forget about them - the rate of evaporation is quite high), and enjoy! You'll get about three uses before the oak influence wanes, so you can fill 'er back up with gin, new-make or something completely different...
A few pointers:
First – you’ll need to give the tap a good old whack to ‘seat’ it in the barrel. Don’t go nuts and break the barrel, but ‘pushing it in’ isn’t enough.
Second – if the hoops around the barrel feel a bit loose, or there’s a bit of seepage from the cask ends when you fill it, you might want to bung a bit of hot water in before you fill it to help the wood expand and become watertight (liquor-tight?). Barrels are constructed without the use of any glue, and rely on the tension/compression of the staves against the other staves/hoops to keep them watertight.
Third – The fact that these barrels are made from Fresh Oak means that the first fill will be incredibly powerful in terms of Oak influence. You’ll be able to re-use the barrel at least two more times before the oak influence wanes.
Finally – The rate of evaporation from these puppies is quite large. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, the surface area to volume ratio of the barrel is very high, and secondly, you’re probably not going to keep it at as low a temperature as you’d find in a warehouse in Scotland. You can expect to lose a fair old percentage per month if you’re keeping them at room temperature so keep an eye on them!
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