Rye whiskey aging unity ceremony

October 18 | Guest post by Baconeer
Age your own whiskey kit photo courtesy of Woodinville Whiskey Co.

I've considered a lot of unity ceremony type things — most of them don't feel like us, although the science experiment ideas are cool. Suddenly one came to me while we were in the liquor store the other day… we could do a unity rye aging ceremony!

Living just outside of Ithaca NY, we're lucky to have TWO local distilleries nearby. One of them has "age your own rye" kits for $99. (Here's the distillery's website, for any other Finger Lakes brides. You can also buy a kit online.)

The kit we purchased comes with a two-liter barrel, and two one-liter bottles of white (unaged) rye. The two bottles means we can each pour one in during the ceremony. Then we'll seal it, and have our officiant explain that we'll drink our wedding rye on our first anniversary.

  1. Awesome idea! We got one of these kits from Finger Lakes Distilling for my dad and he had an awesome batch of home-made booze in 7mos. Using it for the unity ceremony is a unique twist!

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  2. For the Ron Swansons in YOUR life.

    Seriously, though, this is kind of brilliant. If the unity volcano wasn't already made, we'd be stealing this idea.

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  3. …this is utterly brilliant. i also conveniently have a friend who lives near enough to the area to pick up a kit for me. unfortunately, i live in a state that doesn't allow shipping of alcohol to my home.

  4. Does anyone know of a UK distillery that does something similar? I love it!

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    • I have just had a look for these kind of kits and something very similar isavailable for just under £100, at firebox.com

  5. This is a brilliant idea for a unity ceremony! I would love to do this for my wedding, but had a question for you. We will be flying home shortly after our wedding and would need a way to transport the barrel. Is it safe to mail? Would you have any suggestions? Thanks!

  6. LOVE IT!!! Any advice on words to use to go along with a whiskey ceremony like this?

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  7. I'm so in love with this!
    What words did you and your officiant choose to explain the ceremony to your guests?!

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  8. Just so you all know, this distillery is pretty freaking amazing. They're located in Woodinville, WA. They don't have a large distribution outside of that area yet, but I suspect within the next few years, they'll be expanding even more. BUT you can buy the kit online for $150. It's definitely worth it.

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  9. So has anyone who used this for their unity ceremony hit their first anniversary yet? We're contemplating this, but I'm wondering how it tastes after a year and how much is left after evaporation and such ("angel's share"). Folks were saying that after just a few months, they had one bottle left, which is totally fine, but if it continues to evaporate, I want to make sure we at least have enough left to drink. 🙂

    • Hey! We got married in October so not at a year yet–we have a small barrel so 2 750ml bottles fills it. The instructions and advice we got suggested that the first 2-3 batches are more for aging the barrel itself. Our first 2 batches we drank after aging the whiskey for 3-4 months (very woody, be prepared!), so our 3rd batch will land right on our anniversary! Once we realized it wasn't an exact year, we incorporated that into the ceremony–metaphors for gains and getting better with time seem obvious–but mostly about how we like doing things together, watching them coalesce, even of it's not perfect. Xoxo, it's a great and fun thing to do, and you get to celebrate more often!

  10. Hello friends! My husband and I did this for our wedding last October and I thought I would share our experience. First of all, we loved it and still get compliments on how unique and sweet it was.

    We ordered this barrel: http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/whiskey-and-rum-making-kit
    BUT had I ordered earlier, I would have gotten the personalized one: http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/personalized-whiskey-barrel (made to order so it doesn't ship right away)

    I read up on the process and picked up some moonshine the night before the wedding. A family friend grabbed pretty decanters and set everything up for us. On theme with the last-minuteness, I wrote an explanation for my brother to read at the ceremony the night before the wedding as well, taking pieces/inspiration from other unity ceremony readings.

    This was our wording:
    "Joe & Leah have decided to do something a little different for their symbolic unity ceremony today, combining un-aged corn liquor in an oak barrel to develop over time into a flavorful whiskey. The word "whiskey" in its original Gaelic form translates to "water of life". Leah & Joe pour the contents of their bottles into this barrel to symbolize to joining of their two lives. It would be impossible to ever decipher, or pull apart the exact drops that once belonged to the other. As it ages inside the barrel, taking on the flavors of the charred wood interior, their marriage also changes over time, influenced by their experiences together. With love, attention and time, this blend of life’s ingredients will be the foundation of great things to come."

    We brought the barrel to reception and it served as a "guest book" of sorts. This also went a little sideways because once reception hit, we had no idea where the barrel was or the navy blue Sharpie I'd bought to sign it with. It appeared sort of halfway through the party with a red Sharpie instead, but I honestly was just having such a great day I didn't care that few people actually signed it.

    Like Firework22 said, it doesn't take a year. We first emptied it on our dating anniversary (New Years Eve, so it was approx. 3 months) and I agree that it is VERY woody! Personally, I find it's more palatable with some ginger ale to cut the harshness of the oak, but YMMV.

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