Oak Barrel Prep
Begin by rinsing out the barrel to remove any charred bits and pieces of wood that might have shaken loose in shipping. Using a rubber mallet, carefully tap in the spigot (just until snug). Fill the barrel with water. It is normal for the barrel to drip until the wood has swelled (may drip for several days). Once the dripping stops, keep the water in the barrel for an additional 24 hours to hydrate the staves. Empty and rinse again. Fill to the top with your favorite spirit or follow the instructions below on making your own vinegar.
Oak Barrel Aging
The length of time your spirits age and mellow in the barrel depends on personal taste. Small barrels will begin imparting oak flavor quickly – check every two to three weeks for taste and top off what has been lost to the Angel's Share**. When pleased with your results, pour into your favorite decanter or bottle and enjoy.