Plum Bar + Restaurant, a Daniel Patterson Group restaurant in Oakland, Calif., is one of the many now serving barrel-aged cocktails. But in addition to traditional aging for the drinks list, the craft-focused bar offers guests the option to buy smaller, individual barrels filled with their own customized, aged cocktail.
“Guests have liked our barrel-aging program. The next step was to do it for individuals,” says general manager Adam Chapman. To come up with a cocktail suited to their tastes, customers get a creative session with a bartender that lasts about an hour, says Chapman.
Cocktails cost about the same price they would if they were purchased individually, averaging around $11 a drink, plus the $75 cost of the barrel—which guests can either take home or refill with a new cocktail once they’ve finished off a batch. Each barrel holds about 33 drinks, Chapman says, so it’s a draw for regulars and private groups.
Guests pay upfront for the barrel and cocktail. They are given a card, so when they come in, bartenders serving the drinks know which barrel to tap. Guests also get paper cards to hand out if they want to allow others to share their concoction. One local company purchased a few barrels filled with different cocktails, for example, and employees swapped cards to try the various drinks. While the program is still new, reception from early imbibers has been positive, Chapman says.