Date Night: Barrel Aged Cocktails

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While beer and wine are date night standbys, the edgy, fast-paced world of cocktails has taken a new twist on tradition. Even if spirits aren’t your normal drink of choice, it’s hard to deny the sweet, earthy aromas of a cocktail that’s been aging in oak barrels for weeks. So next time you’re headed out for a date night, stop in at Seattle’s hottest bars and taverns to sample the newest trend in the cocktail scene. Be sure to pace yourself–these spirits can pack quite the punch. Quench your thirst at any of these local watering holes courtesy of our friends at Seattle Magazine.

When writing about aged cocktails, I feel I should start with, “It all starts a long time ago, in a faraway place,” as if my grandfather were telling me a story. In the case of the aged cocktail trend, that long time ago was the fall of 2009 (which is about a hundred years ago in today’s nano-fast cocktail culture), and the faraway place was a bar with no name at 69 Colebrooke Row in London.

A renowned bartender there, Tony Conigliaro, was visited by a renowned Northwest bartender, Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Portland’s acclaimed Clyde Common. Conigliaro had taken to aging Manhattans in glass containers, and Morgenthaler was appreciative of the end results, so much so that he started his own experimenting—but in oak barrels. He wrote about it on his blog,, a popular bartender read, and before long, bartenders everywhere were premixing cocktails and aging them in barrels.

Seattle’s cocktail scene is brimming with early adopters, so barrel-aged cocktails—such as aged Negronis—started showing up here soon after. One of the first places to serve them was Liberty on Capitol Hill, one of my favorite neighborhood cocktail havens, where bartender and owner Andrew Friedman started aging a little more than a year ago. After experimenting, he found that barrel-aging cocktails in charred oak barrels “generally adds a vanilla sweetness and mellowing feature” and, he says, provides “a cocktail that has even flavor and is sweetened a tad.”

Find all the best spots to sip on aged cocktails in Seattle by reading the full article here.

This is our weekly guest post from our friends at Seattle Magazine, which keeps readers on the pulse of restaurants, personalities, arts, entertainment and culture that reflect the tapestry of our dynamic landscape. We’ve teamed up for an exciting partnership to bring you a weekly dose of fantastic Date Night ideas throughout greater Seattle.

Photo Credit: Robyn Carliss via Flickr.