Oak Aged Manhattan – Cocktail Recipe

Oak Aged Manhattan

Written by Anthony

Director of Exquisite Cocktails.com, I enjoy pushing boundaries in my professional and personal life. Exploring new ideas, finding out how things work and looking to innovate and expand on the idea. I enjoy working with people and completing projects that stay in peoples memories.

September 10, 2013

Oak Aged Manhattan

Whilst trawling the internet the other day looking for new and interesting stuff to experiment with it occurred to us that we had never tried oak aging anything. Everyone knows that hundreds of spirits are oak aged and that it can change the flavour profile of a drink completely, but we thought we’d have a go and get some in depth tasting notes on the change of the drink.

We didn’t just want to try ageing a spirit however; we thought it would be more interesting to have a go at ageing a cocktail, one we could then just pour straight from the barrel and into the glass. We decided that it ought to be something whiskey based and chose one of our old favourites the Perfect Manhattan. We bought ourselves an unused litre sized oak barrel and then set about deciding on the type of whiskey we ought to use.

Generally speaking I personally am a big fan of Makers Mark in my Manhattans; I like its smooth sweet texture. However we thought we needed something a little different for this experiment as we felt the oak ageing could potentially ruin the delicate flavours of a bourbon like Makers Mark. We thought we’d go for something a little more peppery and spicy instead, and see how the fresh oak mellows these flavours out.  We chose Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey as it seemed to match the flavour profile we needed.

So, using the recipe below we filled the barrel with our Manhattan, keeping a small bottle to one side to use for comparisons, and we will check on the drink every two weeks to see how it’s changing, and how fast these transformations are taking place. We also concluded that it would be best to turn to someone with a more sensitive and highly trained palate than we could personally offer, so all of our tasting notes will be coming from our good friend Aljoscha Wright, who is the spirit expert at The Oxford Wine Company.


  • 50ml Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey
  • 15ml Martini Extra Dry
  • 15ml Martini Rosso
  • 3 Dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • 3 Dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters


You May Also Like…