Barrelsmith: Every Sip Is Sublime

Since 2010, Matt Ellenthal and Martha Outlaw have been perfecting the art of creating barrel-aged craft cocktails. Not settling for traditional recipes and off-the-shelf bottles, they experimented, sourced and developed their own ingredients and methods to create the very best barrel-aged craft cocktails.

Working for a technology company in the casino business, Ellenthal spent a lot of time in Las Vegas and around the world experiencing the very best cocktails and bar culture. At one of his favorite spots, he spent many hours talking to the bar staff about their innovative cocktails, especially their in-house, barrel-aging program. With encouragement from the staff, Ellenthal and Outlaw started experimenting with barrel-aging cocktails at their home in Connecticut. 

A trial and error process with off-the-shelf ingredients and different aging techniques finally resulted in a cocktail that they were proud of and that visitors judged to be the best they had ever tasted.

The business was born when Ellenthal’s mother ordered a Negroni at a high-end Italian restaurant. After sending her drink back three times, she finally had to settle for a different cocktail. They could not come close to matching the intricate and refined drink resulting from selected craft ingredients aged in a charred, oak barrel that she had tasted at Ellenthal and Outlaw’s homes. Many friends and family had similar experiences and started asking to take home Ellenthal and Outlaw’s barrel-aged cocktails.

But to create a cocktail for sale to the public, they knew they had to elevate to product to a higher level. They hired a flavor scientist with decades of experience in the spirits industry to source the best ingredients, create new spirits, and refine their home recipes and techniques. The new ingredients and recipes created cocktails that are elevated by barrel aging and result in a balanced cocktail.

Outlaw is certified by Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) as a Level 2 wine and spirit educator. She spent five years as an authentication and research consultant for a high-profile wine collector. Her research led to civil and criminal wine counterfeit cases that resulted in multi-million dollar damage awards and a federal conviction. She also conducts cellar appraisals and management.

Recently she served as director of fine wines at ReserveBar, the preeminent online destination for the gifting of top-shelf spirits, fine wine and premium champagne.

And yes, the liqueur used in the Manhattan and Boulevardier is named after her.

Learn more at Barrelsmith’s website, including more about the ready-to-drink cocktails (Negroni, Manhattan and Boulevardier) and how to purchase through ReserveBar.


Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.

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