A new programme to encourage bartenders to experiment with barrel-aged cocktails has been introduced for Irish whiskey Jameson.
The brand, part of Pernod Ricard UK’s portfolio, is working on the initiative with leading London bartender Myles Davies, group bars manager for Hix Restaurants (pictured centre).
He has been barrel-ageing cocktails in a 15-litre barrel that was built out of the parts of a 200-litre Jameson-seasoned barrel by master cooper Ger Buckley.
The drink, Autumn Leaves, consists of Jameson Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, Kingston Black apple aperitif from Somerset and some liquorice bitters, which has all been aged in the barrel for several weeks.
The maturation process imparts extra vanilla and wood flavours and creates a more rounded flavour profile. Autumn Leaves is available at Hixter Bankside, including the basement Mark’s Bar, priced £9.50.
Two up-and-coming bartenders in London will get the opportunity to take part in the Jameson Barrel Aged Cocktails programme under Myles’ guidance before it is launched internationally. Bartenders interested in this project should contact their local Pernod Ricard UK representative.
Myles said: “Working with Jameson on the Barrel Aged Cocktails programme has provided me with first-class tools to explore Irish whiskey and experiment with ageing cocktails.
“I’ve certainly acquired invaluable experience as I look to create innovative drinks menus for Mark’s Bars across London.
“My journey with Jameson has given me the knowledge and confidence to mix Irish whiskey with a passion, and I look forward to mentoring two of my peers in the art of barrel ageing in the coming months.”
Originally popular in New York in the early 1900s, the practice of barrel ageing cocktails has enjoyed a renaissance in the last five years in top bars. Cocktails are typically aged in the barrel for six to eight weeks to allow the extraction of wood compounds, the evaporation of volatile compounds and the oxidation of cocktail components, which results in a softer, more rounded drink that delivers a fuller character.
Brendan Buckley, global innovation director at brand owner Irish Distillers, said: “Much of the success of Jameson around the world has been down to unstinting bartender loyalty and advocacy, so we are constantly looking for new ways to inspire and empower the creativity of leading mixologists.
“The Jameson Barrel Aged Cocktails programme invites bartenders to develop new taste sensations for consumers, who are increasingly thirsty for innovation, variety and authenticity, while showcasing the crafted quality at the heart of Jameson.”