If you can barrel-age cocktails, why not barrel-age a mocktail?
As it turns out, many of the flavor compounds found in bourbon are present in cherries, which is why I chose a tart cherry juice to be the base of this drink. The bourbon notes are pumped up with some 1:1 simple syrup, "barrel-aged" using a simple kit. To really knock this drink out of the park, consider smoking the syrup before use. Just don't smoke the whole drink—the flavor gets a little overwhelming.
- For the barrel-aged simple syrup:
- 220 grams sugar (about 3/4 cup)
- 220 grams water (about 15/16 cup)
- For the cocktail:
- 60 grams tart cherry juice (about 2 ounces
- 15 grams barrel-aged simple syrup (about 1/2 ounce, or to taste)
- 15 grams fresh juice from 1 lemon (about 1/2 ounce)
- 30 grams chilled seltzer water (about 1 ounce)
To make the barrel-aged simple syrup: Combine sugar and water in a nonreactive container and allow to combine. Give it a few shakes if necessary. Transfer the syrup to the Tuthilltown Distillery container (with stave for flavoring) and let rest for 2 days at room temperature. Use or transfer to the fridge after two days and store there for up to a week.
For the cocktail: Combine cherry juice, barrel-aged simple syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into a ice-filled rocks glass and top with seltzer water.