Cuvée Ray unveils Solera barrel-aged cocktail

July 9, 2019

Cuvée Ray Wine Bar and Restaurant has unveiled what is believed to be a first for Delaware: A true Solera barrel-aged cocktail.

As seems fitting for a wine-centric restaurant like Cuvée Ray, a Solera is a system of fractional aging used primarily in making sherry. Cuvée Ray is using that concept to barrel age a specialty cocktail which contains rye, cognac, vermouth and Pedro Ximenez sherry. The mixture is progressively aged in three different-sized barrels, culminating in a truly unique taste profile imparted by the fractional aging wood barrel impact on the cocktail.

Ray Kurz, Cuvée Ray owner, said, “Using a true Solera system was the brainchild of our Beverage Manager Rob Bagley, whose passion for both wine and unique cocktails was behind this one-of-a-kind cocktail. My personal beverage focus is on wine, but when Rob approached me with his concept, I was bowled over, and when I tasted it, I was sold!”

Bagley, who is known in the Rehoboth area as a gifted mixologist, became focused on wine after joining the Cuvée Ray team.

He recently took and passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Level I exam. Bagley’s Solera cocktail borrows from both his background as a mixologist and his newfound passion for wine.

Bagley said, “I love the concept of mixing flavors and experiences in fashioning cocktails and wondered what it would be like to take barrel-aging cocktails to the next level by employing a Solera-type system used in making sherry."

After tinkering with various formulations in barrels supplied by Sagamore Spirit Distillery, Bagley found what he was looking for. He said, “I wanted the cocktail to pay tribute to the array of international wines offered at Cuvée Ray, so the formulation is heavily tilted to wine-based ingredients, combining cognac from France, vermouth from Italy, and Pedro Ximenez sherry from Spain with the American Sagamore rye base. The resulting fusion of flavors and textures from the ingredients being fractionally aged is nothing short of amazing." He named his creation Vieux Cuvée, a nod to the New Orleans-born rye-and-cognac-based cocktail known as Vieux Carré.

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