A New Way to Enjoy the Classics
How has this idea enhanced your club's operation, etc.?
In 2020 Montgomery County granted businesses the ability to sell alcohol off-premise. This opened a world of opportunity for us to provide a multitude of unique, value-driven experiences to our membership. In the past we had experimented with barrel-aged cocktails. During the pandemic, the idea evolved into something that more closely resembled a growler program. Members could purchase a pre-seasoned 1-liter Chevy Chase Club barrel filled with the cocktail of their choice and watch its evolution over time at home. When their barrel was empty they could return to the Club and have it refilled. This allowed us to take recipes that every club and restaurant has and make them exclusive to our membership, while also providing an unique experience and taking the each cocktail to the next level. The Chevy Chase Club oak barrels are charred on the inside and lend a roundness to the cocktails, while imparting the complexity of vanilla, baking spice, and smoke. We began with three cocktails: Classic Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Negroni. Later we added the Margarita, where shelf-stable lactic acid was a substitute for sour mix, and a Boulevardier.
How was this idea implemented, and what have been the club members' reactions?
In order to gain traction for the program, we included registration information in our weekly bulletin. We were unsure if there would be any interest whatsoever, but the response was overwhelming. Nearly 50 orders were placed in the first week, and it only progressed from there. Our barrel-aged cocktail list continues to expand and has made its way onto the cocktail menus of our dining outlets. The Barrel-Aged program not only helped drive revenue during the pandemic and provide a one-of-a-kind experience for the membership, but it helped our in-house barrel-aged cocktail program to take off. Barrels are returned frequently to be refilled, and we often see members in the dining room selling barrels to their friends or wanting to try the next aged cocktail on deck.