Armed with barrels and bitters, Wynn mixologist Christopher Hopkins ushers in the season of transformation with new takes on classic cocktails.
he hot new trend of barrel aging cocktails allows the alcohol to extract flavors from the wood, resulting in a more layered taste experience. Wynn mixogologist Christopher Hopkins takes full advantage of that in Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare’s La Contessa, a twist on a Negroni. “I did an interpretation that made it fuller, spicier, smokier, and woodier by barrel aging it for 22 days,” says Hopkins. Similarly, Sinatra’s Boulevardier is aged for 32 days, and here the oak plays perfectly with the bitter notes of Campari, while the rye whiskey base and complex Martini Gran Lusso vermouth add a welcome spice. At Encore’s Eastside Lounge, the change happens not in a barrel, but in your glass. The sugar cube in the classic Champagne Cocktail is coated with Angostura bitters and then covered with Hennessey V.S.O.P. cognac and Champagne. The cube dissolves, altering the drink’s flavor as it releases the spicy bitters. See? Change is good.
from left: Sinatra’s Boulevardier, Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare’s La Contessa, and Eastside Lounge’s Champagne Cocktail.