You might not be in the tax bracket where you regularly enjoy 30-year-old Scotch or order wine the sommelier won’t roll their eyes at, but you can get the next best thing without changing your shopping habits or opening your wallet any wider.
Try raising your bottles by one or two shelves with the help of a DIY alcohol aging gadget.
Now, not every item that can age alcohol is technically a gadget. In fact, most are primarily sticks of wood, but the following all have enough science behind them to make you forget how little you spent on the original bottle.
Oak Bottle, $60+
Oak Bottle’s ageing canisters offer the most bang for your buck. The oak bottles, in capacities of 150 mL, 355 mL, and 750 mL, can age any alcohol for as little as two hours or as long as three months. Essentially operating as tiny barrels, each bottle optimizes alcohol by exposing smaller quantities of it to relatively more wood.
Unlike the other wooden options, you can use Oak Bottle indefinitely, provided that you care for it properly between uses. With an array of flavors to choose from and customize, this is ideal for someone with craft brew sensibilities. Those with a little less patience can also invest in tumblers that age alcohol within five minutes.
Elevie uses infrared technology to mature wine in just five minutes. This adhesive badge is placed directly on the glass so it can “cook” your wine to perfection. The technology never fades, but the silicone stickiness eventually does, after about 100 uses. You won’t have a direct influence on the flavor outcome with this product, but it allows the wine to speak for itself. Also, the patch comes with a sleeve that slips easily into your wallet, so you can elevate that Two-Buck Chuck at your friends’ parties.
Beyond Barrels, $11
The simplest option here, Beyond Barrels does a lot with a little. By providing a slightly striated, flavored stave, the lack of manipulation produces a wealth of quality. These are best for improving whiskey, rum, and tequila.
Time and Oak’s Whiskey Elements, $15
By creating slits in the oak stave, Whiskey Elements increases the surface area through which alcohol can be aged. Though they work on all liquor and beer, using them in wine is ill-advised (though Time and Oak also makes wine cask staves). Each stave only needs a day or two in the bottle to see drastic results, but loses its potency after about a week’s worth of use.
Oak Infusion Spiral, $25 (six-pack)
Putting a literal twist on Time & Oak’s product, Oak Infusion Spiral creates toasted and charred staves in a spiral formation. These staves age alcohol in its bottle for two weeks for the fullest flavor and should not be used again.