We're living in the age of barrel-aged improvement, as everything from beer to Manischewitz is getting a moment inside charred oak to pick up extra tannins and woody caramels. Even City Hall is doing barrel time these days - the cocktail, that is. "City Hall" is what Pub & Kitchen bar master George Costa calls the combination of Rittenhouse rye, Laird's apple brandy, Bual Madeira, Cynar, and Ramazzotti Amaro he concocted for a Philly-themed drink competition a few years ago. For some reason, it didn't win.
What it obviously needed was a date with a barrel. After a six-week ride, the punchy blend (which formerly required ice) has mellowed and married, with toastier vanilla, nuttier Madeira notes, and an intriguing luster as the spicy rye, fruity brandy, and herbaceous bitters settled down to cooperate and behave, at room temp. So what's next in Barreltown: Costa for mayor?