How To Age Your Own Rye, And What You Should Do With It Afterwards

Nate Howell, the bar manager at Cusp in La Jolla, CA, developed a process for aging rye, which we think is pretty damn cool. Howell takes raw, uncharred barrels and tempers them with water for 10 days to prep them. He then adds Templeton Rye to the barrel lined with whole spices and lets it sit for about a month. But why Templeton? "Bottom line, it's a great introductory rye," he says. By adding cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to the barrel during the aging process, Howell accentuates the characters of the spirit. This process yields about one and a half bottles total.

  • 2 bottles Templeton Rye
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 nutmeg pod (1/4 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 raw, uncharred oak barrel (5 gallon)
  • Directions: 

  • Temper barrel with water for ten days.
  • Drain water into ice trays and freeze for use in cocktail.
  • Add Templeton Rye, cinnamon sticks, allspice and nutmeg to barrel.
  • Let sit until reaches desired taste (approximately one month).
  • State of Grace Cocktail

    The wait is worth it, especially when the aged rye is worked into the State of Grace cocktail, Howell's Manhattan/Sazerac riff. After an absinthe rinse, the rye and sweet vermouth are combined — like a Manhattan. Spanish spirit Licor 43 is added as well for character.

  • 2 ounces Barrel-aged Templeton Rye
  • ½ ounce Carpano Antica formula
  • ¼ ounce Licor 43
  • Dash Peychaud's bitters
  • 1 ounce Absinthe, used as rinse
  • Chill a glass by adding ice and water. Set aside.
  • Take a chilled mixing glass and dash in bitters, then add rye whiskey, Carpano Antica and Licor 43.
  • Stir ingredients until desired dilution is reached. Discard ice from chilled rocks glass and coat inside lightly with absinthe.
  • Strain mixing glass contents into chilled rocks glass.
  • Add large cube barrel-aged ice.
  • Garnish with orange peel.