Chapter 5: Personal Spirits: Flavoring Your Own Whiskey

You’ve embraced the do it yourself spirit in every aspect of life. You DIY your backyard deck and your car repairs and countless other things in your life. Why not DIY your whiskey as well?

Distilling whiskey at home is illegal in the United States, but you can personalize your whiskey by aging and infusing at home. We’ve made it easy.

Flavored Whiskey

Once you get your base spirit and cured oak barrel situated based on the steps listed above, you can add additional flavors to suit your preferences, upcoming party or gift idea.

Deep South Barrel’s essences and bootlegger kits are the perfect way to add different flavor profiles. You’ll be able to control the level of intensity, making as mild or as a strong as you’d like. One bottle of our DSB Liquor essence is all you need to flavor a regular sized bottle of spirits at 750 ml. Here are a few ideas:

  • Some of our essences will mirror the flavors of the traditional whiskeys that we discussed earlier. If you want to go the tried and true route, experiment with these flavorings. For example, Royal Rye Whiskey flavor essence will give you the classic taste of Canadian whiskey and the Tennessee Bourbon Whiskey essence will recreate the quintessential mellow corn whiskey taste we love from American bourbon.
  • If you want try out tastes from across the pond, our Irish Whiskey essence will deliver a traditional blended whiskey experience and the Scotch Whisky essence creates the well-known “red label” feel of famous scotches. Without the price tag without having to leave your home.

Of course, sometimes you want to go beyond the traditional types of whiskey and experiment with new flavors. Deep South Barrels has you covered there, too. Here are a few examples:

  • Cinnamon whiskey is super popular. Actor Chris Pratt did shots of a fiery whiskey on air with TV host Ellen DeGeneres. If you and your friends also prefer these spicy spirits, try our Flamethrower Whiskey essence to create a cinnamon concoction of your own.
  • We talked earlier about the popularity of honey whiskey cocktails and drinks. At Deep South Barrels, we offer honey mead liquor made from fermented honey, scotch honey whisky essence to create a familiar taste of whisky, honey and herbs, as well as honey bourbon, which will give you that classic Tennessee honey bourbon flavor.
  • If you want to go the liqueur flavor route, we offer liqueur essences that would be great in coffee, desserts or on their own, like the popular almond-flavored Amaretto essences and the sweetened Irish Cream essence.

Be sure to check the recommended usage, but for the most part, Deep South Barrels’ essences simply require you to combine the bottle of essence liquid with the bottle of neutral spirit. To guarantee you get every last drop of the highly concentrated essence flavors, rinse out the essence bottle with your neutral spirit to capture all of the goodness.

And that is the most basic and easy way to flavor the spirit of your choice.

whiskey barrels

If you want to get even more creative and improve even more on this centuries old tradition of distilling and flavoring, there are plenty of recipes to help you along the way. Our awesome customers have embraced the challenge of creating flavors that match their personalities and preferences, and we happily share them with the world.

Here are a few of our most popular recipes:

  • The beauty of this tequila in an amaretto barrel is that it lets the barrel do all the work. First, you follow the regular instructions with the Amaretto essence, let it age for 60-90 days and then pour in tequila and let that age for about a month and a half.
  • This “Honey Glazed Turkey 101” recipe from a customer in Pittsburgh, PA, uses cinnamon, vanilla and honey to create a smooth but not overly sweet whiskey that is great on the rocks.
  • For those who want to try a more involved recipe, this Pina Picante concoction from a customer in San Diego shows just how good a little experimentation can be. By allowing the ingredients, including tequila, sugar, pineapple, jalapeno and vanilla, to infuse in an airtight container for a week before adding it to the barrel, you’ll get a full sweet flavor at first, followed by the heat from the jalapeno.
  • We’ve talked a lot about whiskey, so let’s shake things up (pun intended) with this Island Time Cinnamon Coconut Rum recipe from a customer in the Pacific Northwest. It’s recommended you serve this rum concoction with lemon lime soda or pineapple juice, or shaken with ice and topped with whipped cream. You’ll swear you feel the ocean breeze from the comfort of your home.

Any time a recipe calls for sugar, we recommend heating it to ensure that it’s entirely dissolved. Also remember that traces of some of these flavors will remain in the barrels unless you clean and repeat the curing process afterwards. Many customers love to experiment and learn how these remaining flavors work with different ingredients and base spirits.

recipe sugar

Why Aged Whiskey at Home in Aged Whiskey Barrels?

Aging whiskey at home, with or without additional flavoring ingredients, creates an entirely unique experience in relatively little time. If you are accustomed to drinking wine, you might think the longer a drink is aged, the better. Not so with whiskey. If aged too long, the oak barrels can put off a sour, almost astringent flavor, so distillers don’t need, or want, decades to develop flavor.

drinking wine aged whiskey

Using our smaller barrels allows the flavor to develop in a matter of weeks. Wood is naturally porous, which means it’s a bit spongy and penetrable, and that porous wood naturally aerates the liquor inside. You’ve probably seen people pour wine through an aerator or decanter to let the air circulate around it. Our barrels do that naturally and similarly improve the taste of the booze.

Customized Whiskey Experience Both Inside and Out

Enough about what is going on inside the barrel. At Deep South Barrels, you can also personalize the outside, thanks to our custom engraving options.

deep south barrels personalize

Customers have engraved their names, important dates like weddings and birthdays, team logos and so much more on the outside of our barrels. Given the fact that each of our barrels is made from real wood and is 100% customizable, no two barrels are the same. The beauty of the wood grain is unique and varies from barrel to barrel.

This engraving option makes our barrels perfect for your groomsmen, your dads and grandads, your recent college grad and the whiskey lover in your life. When you add a barrel to your shopping cart on our website, you will be able to click on a “laser engraving” option.

From there, you’ll be directed into our digital design studio, where you can easily add text or images. Our online design studio allows you customize font, size and position on the barrel. We provide pre-loaded stock designs popular with many customers — or you can upload your own artwork. You can save your artwork if you want to sleep on it, or if you want to email it to a friend for their feedback. If you are confident you’ve got the design you’ve been hoping for, you can simply add the barrel to your shopping cart and check out.

It’s easy to create a one-of-a-kind oak barrel that will bring you or a loved one years of enjoyment — and we can’t wait to get you started on your whiskey journey. Fill out our form, give us a call at 713-340-3103 ext. 2 or email us at contactus@deepsouthbarrels.com.