We love cold brew, we’re into gin and we enjoy learning about barrel-aging! The geniuses at Starbucks figured out a way to combine all three of these things — giving birth to Reserve Gin Barrel-Aged Cold Brew. It’s a mouthful, but a delicious one.
According to the Starbucks Newsroom, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle is offering the drink — last year they released whiskey barrel-aged coffee, so we’re sensing a trend. This year’s gin inspired version uses Rwandan coffee beans and oak barrels that originally stored bourbon and were then used by a Seattle distiller to age gin.
“The beans absorb the botanical essence of the gin, bringing out its bright citrus notes with a sweet caramel finish. The resulting cup is rich, nuanced and unlike anything we’ve tasted before,” said Jennifer Galbraith, manager of product development at Starbucks.
The barrel-aged coffee is steeped into a concentrate, shaken with ice and lime bitters, and finished with spritzy tonic. The sparkling drink is non-alcoholic, so coffee lovers of all ages can enjoy. Galbraith promises that the flavors from the brew and the barrel “weave together like a piece of fabric and leave you with a light, refreshing flavor.”
Mixing coffee with tonic might seem like an odd idea, but it’s not a new one. Gregory’s, a popular coffee chain, introduced a Cascara Fizz last summer which blended concentrated coffee with sparkling water.
Barrel aging is also not a new practice, though in States, it’s unusual for gin — you’re probably more familiar with barrel-aged bourbon or sherry. As is true for any other liquor, barrel aging imparts a distinct flavor — and creates gin of a darker color. PUNCH reports that unlike bourbon, “there are no rules on how long or in what vessels gin should be aged” because no regulations exist. Talk about moonshine 2.0.
Judging by their upscale offerings, Starbucks Roastery and Reserve Bars are truly targeting the diehard coffee nerds of the world. With this cold brew, it seems like they might just be taking the right step towards that goal.