Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Thomas Rekasis (the blurry guy in the background) the Food & Beverage Manager/Spirits Buyer for Viceroy Santa Monica Hotel. Thomas merrily told me how the Viceroy’s Cameo Bar now offers barrel aged cocktails featuring spirits produced strictly in California and aged on the premise in oak barrels.
Utilizing spirits from California distilleries such as Sonoma County’s 1512 Spirits run by a Bay Area Barber (the distillery is named after his day job the 1512 Barber Shop. (And yes you read that right, Nob Hill Barber by day, artisanal distiller by night!)) As part of its We’ve Got Spirit program, the Viceroy is now offers 2 cocktails aged for a minimum of 2 weeks in oak barrels. Each barrel produces no more than 3 liters of the cocktail it holds. When it’s ready, they pour. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
The most tantalizing is the Ration, a drink that was first concocted by Thomas’ grandfather. The Ration is a combination of rum, bourbon, brandy, and orange liqueur that is then stored in a mini whiskey barrel (which I didn't even know come that small) for 3 weeks. After such time it is removed from the barrel and distributed to bottles. Each bottle then has ½ cup apple-wood chips added to it before it is sealed tight.
After being aged 1 week the cocktail is then muddled with lemons, oranges, and a pinch of loose mint. It's shaken, strained over ice, and served in an old-fashioned glass with an orange and lemon peel for the perfect sunset drink.
So get it while it’s good because when it’s gone, it’s gone.