My wife went all out on cocktail stuff for Christmas (one of the many reasons I love her), and one of the things she got for me was a barrel aging kit from Tuthilltown. If you’re not familiar with those guys, they’re a small distillery in the Hudson Valley part of New York. They primarily produce whiskies (two bourbons, a rye, and a single malt), all of which are well-regarded. They also have a lot of interesting equipment available in their online store.
Both my wife and I enjoy Amaretto quite a bit, but we like it on the drier, spicier side. The latest bottle we bought, from Gozio, was a little too sweet for our tastes, so I decided to see how barrel-aging it would go. The answer is: deliciously! The amaretto took to the process really well — it’s gained a nice woody note on top, the sweetness has declined a bit, and the spiciness is more pronounced. It’s gone from being pretty one-note to something much more nuanced.
I thought I’d pair it with gin, sweet vermouth, and bitters, and see how it went down. I used a bold London Dry gin to stand up to the strong flavors here, and the overall combination is very nice.
If you don’t want to barrel-age your own Amaretto, this cocktail will still be really tasty, though I recommend Luxardo amaretto in that case.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts.