Explorations in Mixology Cocktails Drinking

Barrel Roll

We’ve covered so many recipes over the years it is easy to forget posts from the early days. We continue forward with seemingly no end in sight, but sharing virtual happy hour with friends has helped us recognize that sometimes the best way to select a cocktail is to start by using our home page navigation by base spirit, or branch from one post to another using ingredient tags that have always appeared at the end of each post. For instance, a friend recently picked up a bottle of Chartreuse, so we are going back through the posts tagged with that ingredient to find something suitable.

In addition to the posts themselves, an often overlooked area of Summit Sips are the contributions made by you, our readers. Fantastic riffs and recipe suggestions have appeared in the comments that we might not have considered had it not been for your creativity and willingness to share. On several occasions, we have taken a comment and made it the subject of an entire post. That’s what we are doing today with the Barrel Roll as we revisit a delicious classic and make what is basically a four-for-one recipe.

Several years ago we wrote about the Tailspin cocktail. You can check out that recipe, but it is essentially a Bijou that swaps the bitters. So, it is gin, Chartreuse, sweet vermouth, and a splash of Campari. A comment from Michael Meyers described a riff he created using rye, and with the help of some unscientific taste testing, he found a better drink.

Barrel Roll by Michael Meyers
1 oz rye whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Green Chartreuse
.5 tsp dash Campari

Add ingredients to a mixing glass and stir with ice. When properly chilled, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry and lemon twist.

First of all, we have loved the century-and-a-half old classic Bijou since we first wrote about it almost a decade ago. If you have not had the pleasure, or you need a another reason to pickup some Green Chartreuse, check it out. Years later, we discovered the bourbon version at a local restaurant and it reminded us how much we liked the original, but also how this formula can lead to interesting variations. By the time we were making the Tailspin, Mr. Meyers reminded us about the base swapping and again, went for whiskey instead of gin—only this time, he used rye.

From a flavor perspective, the cleverly-named Barrel Roll is actually quite similar to the Tailspin. This oaked variant brings more depth and spicy character to a flavor profile that is already herbal and boozy, but a lot will depend on your choice of spirit brands. In our side-by-side comparison, we may have short-changed ourselves using an inexpensive rye against a Tailspin with Solveig gin by Far North Spirits. Solveig is so good with its lovely thyme, grapefruit and lavender that it was hard to delcare the barrel-aged version the winner of this dogfight. Yet, we recognized the intention and even with a budget base, there is greatness in this cocktail.

Like all Bijou variants, proper execution requires the garnish, but if you have to make a compromise, the lemon twist is the more important element, as a nice curl cut from the fruit will shower the surface with lemon oil that makes a huge difference in the experience of every sip. We also used homemade brandied cocktail cherries from a recent batch and encourage everyone to try our easy method.

We are excited to have the Barrel Roll as another version of a classic Chartreuse cocktail. Give it a try and let us know what you think. We welcome—and sometimes highlight—your perspective, and Summit Sips is a better place to explore because of your input. Thanks, and Happy Halloween!

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