Best Weeks-Old Cocktail

Barrel-Aged Martini at Adesso

Barrel-aging cocktails — mixing up a batch of some spirit-forward drink like Manhattans or Negronis and leaving it to sit for five or six weeks in used wine or whiskey barrels — is a recent American notion. The United States Bartenders’ Guild’s Lou Bustamante says barrel-aging was starting to gain momentum, but few bars have the space to do it, especially since the idea hasn’t really caught on with customers. Judging by the aged martini on Adesso’s cocktail menu, that’s a shame. If you’re expecting the bracing jolt, the sharply etched lines of a freshly made martini, you’ll be disappointed. The vermouth succumbs to oxidation in the barrel, turning the whole mixture a pale rose pink, and the drink’s outlines become gentle, the way plum softens to prune. It’s the perfect aperitivo for Adesso’s beautiful platters of lonza, prosciutto, and salami from resident salumi maker Chad Arnold, and — like them — it’s a reminder of what time and patience can do.

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