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11 Wood-Aged Cocktails to Drink Before the Barrel Runs Dry

Like a fine wine...

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The technique of barrel-aging cocktails has been sprouting up throughout the city for quite some time now. The reasoning is quite simple: barrel aging allows each component of a cocktail to become more comfortable with each other, developing a more balanced flavor and silky mouthfeel. It doesn't hurt that just like wine, aging in oak barrels adds hints of smokiness, caramel, and spice to the cocktails that creates complexity and depth of flavor.

While popular barrel-aging contenders are often Negronis and Manhattans, and few bars around town are whipping up their own unique barrel-aged concoctions. Here now, a list of eleven barrel-aged cocktails, in no particular order:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Negroni at The Tasting Kitchen

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1633 Abbot Kinney Rd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 392-6644
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Justin Pike has been perfecting the technique of barrel-aging cocktails for quite a few years now. Pike takes the basic components of a Negroni, sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin, and ages them together in a barrel for upwards of six weeks. The result is a more balanced mouthfeel, with less of the mouth-watering Campari taste drowning out the gin.

2. The Bijou at Sassafras

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1233 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 467-2800
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Sassafras offers a selection of four barrel-aged cocktails that break away from the standard barrel-aged selections. The Bijou, composed of Plymouth Gin, Green Chartreuse, Noilly Prat Rouge, and orange bitters, utilizes a smoked barrel to add complexity to the unique libation.

3. Old Fashioned at The Corner Door

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12477 W Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 313-5810
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Beau du Bois takes a standard Old Fashion recipe (bourbon, Angostura bitters, and sugar) and gives it the classic citrus note with a dash of orange bitters. The ingredients are aged together to create a rounded flavor.

4. The Contraband at Gracias Madre

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8905 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 978-2170
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Although Gracias Madre is known for having one of the best tequila and mezcal programs in town, Beverage Director Jason Eisner is mixing it up with the restaurant's first-ever non-agave spirit-based cocktail that features his housemade barrel-aged moonshine gin. The house-aged liquor is utilized in Eisner’s Contraband cocktail alongside Mexican fernet and Italian sweet vermouth.

5. Vieux Carre at Melrose Umbrella Co

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7465 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 951-0709
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One of Melrose Umbrella Co partner Zach Patterson’s favorite cocktails, the Vieux Carre takes an over-proofed rye, Rittenhouse 100, and blends it with Park Cognac, Angostura bitters, Peychauds bitters, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine. The libation is aged for exactly 8 weeks with constant tastings to assure just enough oak presence without overpowering the flavor.

6. Manhattan at BOA Steakhouse

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9200 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 278-2050
The BOA Barrel-Aged Manhattan takes Bulleit rye whiskey and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth and ages them for four to six weeks in small American Oak casks. Once aged and bottled, the finished cocktail gets a few dashes of artisanal aromatic bitters, is stirred with ice, and is garnished with a Luxardo brandied cherry.

7. Boulevardier at Terrazza Lounge

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1910 Ocean Way
Los Angeles, CA 90402
(310) 581-7714
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Located within Santa Monica’s Hotel Casa del Mar, Terrazza Lounge offers a variety of barrel-aged cocktails. The restaurant uses American white oak barrels and ages each cocktail for two to three weeks. Along with the classic Vieux Carre, Terrazza offers the Boulevardier, which is essentially a Negroni with the gin swapped out for rye whiskey. The smooth cocktail can be enjoyed while taking in sweeping views of the beach.

8. Negroni at Cecconi's

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8764 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 432-2000
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As Negronis respond amazingly well to the barrel-aging process, Cecconi’s takes gin, vermouth, and Suze liqueur and ages the mixture together to achieve a silkier finish than the standard cocktail.

9. Manhattan at The Whisper Restaurant & Lounge

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The Grove
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 931-0202
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Located within The Grove, The Whisper Restaurant and Lounge serves up classic American cuisine, which pairs well with a good ol’ Manhattan. The Whisper ages theirs in a 10-liter oak barrel with housemade bitters. The bitters recipe takes the quintessential ingredients of cassia bark, cloves, orange peel, cinnamon, and worms wood, and adds in grapefruit, peach, allspice, black pepper, and rosemary to bring out some of the oak’s warmer flavors.

10. Negroni at Spago

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176 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0880
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Spago offers a variety of barrel-aged cocktails from their Private Reserve, all aged six weeks in-house. Along with cocktails like the Boulevardier, Manhattan, and Sazerac, Spago offers a classic barrel-aged Negroni with Hendricks gin, Carpano Antica Formula, and Campari. [Photo: Andrea Bricco]

11. No Mames Guey at Birch

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1634 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
In a unique take on the Old Fashioned, this new restaurant from Brenden Collins makes a drink that replaces whiskey with Partida reposado tequila and barrel-ages the cocktail until balanced and smooth.

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1. Negroni at The Tasting Kitchen

1633 Abbot Kinney Rd, Venice, CA 90291
Justin Pike has been perfecting the technique of barrel-aging cocktails for quite a few years now. Pike takes the basic components of a Negroni, sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin, and ages them together in a barrel for upwards of six weeks. The result is a more balanced mouthfeel, with less of the mouth-watering Campari taste drowning out the gin.
1633 Abbot Kinney Rd
Venice, CA 90291

2. The Bijou at Sassafras

1233 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Sassafras offers a selection of four barrel-aged cocktails that break away from the standard barrel-aged selections. The Bijou, composed of Plymouth Gin, Green Chartreuse, Noilly Prat Rouge, and orange bitters, utilizes a smoked barrel to add complexity to the unique libation.
1233 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90038

3. Old Fashioned at The Corner Door

12477 W Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066
Beau du Bois takes a standard Old Fashion recipe (bourbon, Angostura bitters, and sugar) and gives it the classic citrus note with a dash of orange bitters. The ingredients are aged together to create a rounded flavor.
12477 W Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066

4. The Contraband at Gracias Madre

8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Although Gracias Madre is known for having one of the best tequila and mezcal programs in town, Beverage Director Jason Eisner is mixing it up with the restaurant's first-ever non-agave spirit-based cocktail that features his housemade barrel-aged moonshine gin. The house-aged liquor is utilized in Eisner’s Contraband cocktail alongside Mexican fernet and Italian sweet vermouth.
8905 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069

5. Vieux Carre at Melrose Umbrella Co

7465 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
One of Melrose Umbrella Co partner Zach Patterson’s favorite cocktails, the Vieux Carre takes an over-proofed rye, Rittenhouse 100, and blends it with Park Cognac, Angostura bitters, Peychauds bitters, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine. The libation is aged for exactly 8 weeks with constant tastings to assure just enough oak presence without overpowering the flavor.
7465 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046

6. Manhattan at BOA Steakhouse

9200 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
The BOA Barrel-Aged Manhattan takes Bulleit rye whiskey and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth and ages them for four to six weeks in small American Oak casks. Once aged and bottled, the finished cocktail gets a few dashes of artisanal aromatic bitters, is stirred with ice, and is garnished with a Luxardo brandied cherry.
9200 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

7. Boulevardier at Terrazza Lounge

1910 Ocean Way, Los Angeles, CA 90402
Located within Santa Monica’s Hotel Casa del Mar, Terrazza Lounge offers a variety of barrel-aged cocktails. The restaurant uses American white oak barrels and ages each cocktail for two to three weeks. Along with the classic Vieux Carre, Terrazza offers the Boulevardier, which is essentially a Negroni with the gin swapped out for rye whiskey. The smooth cocktail can be enjoyed while taking in sweeping views of the beach.
1910 Ocean Way
Los Angeles, CA 90402

8. Negroni at Cecconi's

8764 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069
As Negronis respond amazingly well to the barrel-aging process, Cecconi’s takes gin, vermouth, and Suze liqueur and ages the mixture together to achieve a silkier finish than the standard cocktail.
8764 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90069

9. Manhattan at The Whisper Restaurant & Lounge

The Grove, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Located within The Grove, The Whisper Restaurant and Lounge serves up classic American cuisine, which pairs well with a good ol’ Manhattan. The Whisper ages theirs in a 10-liter oak barrel with housemade bitters. The bitters recipe takes the quintessential ingredients of cassia bark, cloves, orange peel, cinnamon, and worms wood, and adds in grapefruit, peach, allspice, black pepper, and rosemary to bring out some of the oak’s warmer flavors.
The Grove
Los Angeles, CA 90036

10. Negroni at Spago

176 N Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Spago offers a variety of barrel-aged cocktails from their Private Reserve, all aged six weeks in-house. Along with cocktails like the Boulevardier, Manhattan, and Sazerac, Spago offers a classic barrel-aged Negroni with Hendricks gin, Carpano Antica Formula, and Campari. [Photo: Andrea Bricco]
176 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

11. No Mames Guey at Birch

1634 North Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
In a unique take on the Old Fashioned, this new restaurant from Brenden Collins makes a drink that replaces whiskey with Partida reposado tequila and barrel-ages the cocktail until balanced and smooth.
1634 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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