Last week, while exploring New York’s Barrel-Aged cocktail scene, I wandered into Fedora, eager to try their take on the trend. They barrel-age 2 cocktails at the moment, but are planning more for the fall. The Fedora is their signature cocktail, which Co-owner, general manager and head bar honcho Brian Bartels based on a cocktail from the early 1900s in The Ideal Bartender by Tom Bullock. It’s a manly combo of rum, brandy, bourbon, and orange curaçao. Bartels updated the recipe, using Smith & Cross rum, Elijah Craig bourbon, apple brandy, and Combier in place of the orange curaçao. He ages the mixture in a Tuthilltown Spirits bottle for 3 months. He recently started taking the 3-month-old Fedora out of its barrel and storing small amounts of it in mason jars with smoked wood chips. He’s currently playing around with adding simple syrup made with smoked water to the mix, to add a third layer of flavor. Poured over a big, fat ice cube in a low ball, it made for a great drink on a chilly summer night. It didn’t have the oxidized, aged-sherry-ish notes of Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Negroni, but it did take on some of the lovely smooth mouthfeel you expect from a barrel-aged cocktail. And to be honest, kudos to Bartels for coming up with an alternative to the by-now-much-copied Manhattans and Negronis.
Side note: Make sure you order something to eat. Montreal Chef Medhi Brunet-Benkritly is an Au Pied de Cochon alum, and has some serious culinary game.
Combine the rum, bourbon, brandy and orange liqueur and store in Tuthilltown Spirits 3-gallon whiskey barrel for 3 months.
Remove from the barrel and distribute the fedora into 750-milliliter bottles. Combine each bottle of Fedora with ½ cup applewood chips and seal. Store for 5 days then serve in an old-fashioned glass with a large ice cube, the orange peel and the lemon peel.