Scotch and Sherry have been aged in spent wine barrels for centuries. Now, several New World distillers are using the flavored staves to finish their stiff stuff, which imparts subtle fruit and oak notes.
Here are five of our favorites:
Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye
This robust rye clocks three months in Quady Winery’s sweet vermouth casks, creating a distinctly ruddy hue, a lovely raisin aroma and rounded notes of honey-soaked dried fruit. Try it in a Manhattan; $50.
Dulce Vida Extra Añejo Tequila
This limited-edition Tequila matured for five years in Merlot and Cabernet barrels from Rombauer Vineyards. The result: a burnished gold hue and remarkable complexity, with honey, caramel, orange and red berry notes and a lick of peppery heat; $169.
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Several Angel’s Envy whiskies are finished in ruby Port pipes, including this velvety toffee sipper, which has hints of rounded red fruit on the long finish. Pair it with dark chocolate; $46.
DownSlope Distilling Wine Barrel-Aged Rum
This rum spent a year in Napa Valley Cabernet barrels. It pours tawny, has a rich mouthfeel, and boasts deep butterscotch and dried apricot flavors; $35.
Woodford Reserve Sonoma-Cutrer Finish
The time in Pinot Noir barrels give this whiskey a rosy tinge and a surprising earthy flavor—a rarity in Kentucky Bourbon. Coconut and vanilla overlap with a touch of dark fruit on the finish; $100.