Ryan Minnick, Master Mixologist, has been quietly pioneering a new barrel aging program at Bethany Blues and the results are one of the coolest ways to enjoy a cocktail. Now that he is on a roll, Bethany Blues is excited to invite the public in on the barrel aging program that allows customers to experience the full breadth of a cocktail in a reduced medium.

“No one else is doing this,” says Minnick, “and it’s something I started as a sort of hobby, but I am literally over here cooking up cocktails.” This is true innovation that cashes in on Minnick’s creativity and marries it with his mixology skillset.

Minnick was given several 10L barrels from Sagamore Spirit Distilling Company, which each hold 12 bottles of spirits. He has been using them to age ingredients with bourbon and rye whiskey that pack a cocktail punch in just one sip. That is, he takes the idea of a cocktail, like a Blackberry Smoked Jalapeño Sazerac, which originated in New Orleans, and peels it back to single out the components.

Minnick then takes the ingredients, like blackberries and jalapeños, smokes them, and adds them to the barrels along with the liquor. He then allows them to age for an extended period of time, generally about three to six months. This infuses the flavors of the additives into the liquor itself. He explains, “the longer they sit, the stronger they taste. And this entire process makes the flavors more defined and clear—or basically, all flavor, no fruit.”

Once that process is complete, he then fine-strains the solids out with cheesecloth, and serves the infusion either on a single rock or up, as a cocktail. His process is basically one of deconstruction and reclamation of flavor that condenses an entire cocktail into a single pour.

Minnick has a variety of barrel aged cocktails a-brewing, and plans to expand his unique program, rotating the cocktails and coming up with new ones seasonally. Come and see what all the buzz is about at Bethany Blues of Lewes!