Delicious to drink, cool to watch, and so easy to do. Smoked cocktails are not only for the most advanced mixologist but for the at-home barista, too. Gaining significant popularity in the mid-2000s, smoked cocktails have bewildered and bemused drink enthusiasts for years.
Smoke and liquor have been linked to early production days when the cooking process heavily relied on an open flame. Over the years, mixologists have tried to bring the smoky flavor of the olden days back to their drinks, and in 2007 New York barkeep Eben Freeman sparked a smokey revolution in a bar.
Since then, smoked cocktails have been popping up on menus left and right - everything from smoke-infused syrups to ice cubes to actual smoking drinks. Now let's dive and see how to smoke a cocktail at home.
How to Create the Smoke?
For the at-home mixologist, a smoking cocktail is very easy to accomplish with very few items needed. The key to a great smoked cocktail is, well, the smoke. This can easily be acquired by burning applewood, hickory, or oak sticks. If you are feeling creative, try using your favorite tea or all-natural tobacco.
- Once your drink is prepared, make sure to stir it with some ice to dilute and cool the beverage.
- Next, unplug your smoke-filled decanter and slowly pour the liquid into the smoke. Shake a few times.
- One essential technique to smoking a cocktail is not shaking it too much or too long. The more shaking and the longer the cocktail is exposed to the smoke, the stronger the smoke flavor can be. Try 4 or 5 gentle shakes.
- Slowly pour the cocktail into your serving glass and let the smoke settle on top. A great cocktail should have a wonderful aroma, a great taste, and a beautiful presentation.
Ingredients to Create Smoked Cocktails
Here are the ingredients you will need to create a unique taste for your smoked cocktails. Each element can give specific flavors to your drink.
- Ice - The ice creates a subtle smoky effect once it melts.
- Salt - Depending on how you like your cocktails, you can use the optimum amount of salt for that punch or savory taste.
- Citrus Peels - Citrus can be used as a garnish for your drinks. Though it may not enhance your drink’s flavor, you can also fire up the peel for even more smoke.
- Cinnamon - Use it for a subtle sweetness and light smoke.
- Pecan Wood - Pecan wood has a very nutty texture, and adding this to your cocktail can create sharp, earthy hints.
- Oakwood - Who doesn't like a charred woody smell in their drink? Oakwood does precisely that. It gives you a smoky and earthy taste like a good classic whiskey.
Equipment to Create the Smoke
Depending on how much smoke you want, there are various methods in which you can create smoke. The most popular way is to smoke rinse your glass. It means you are bathing your glass with smoke from inside. You just flip over the chilled glass and fill in your drink.
If you are not sure how to smoke your cocktails, you can also buy a smoking gun. To use it, just place the element that you wish to smoke(pine wood) into the chamber at the top and use the hose from the gun to control the smoke that comes out straight into your glass.
How to Keep the Smoke Contained?
An old whiskey bottle works great to maintain your cocktail’s smoke because of its sealable glass container. Plus, it creates an elegant presentation that you can store on your bar counter or kitchen tabletop. Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure your work area is clear of anything flammable.
- Light your stick of wood or tea on fire.
- Once lit, extinguish and immediately cover with your glass container to capture the smoke. It helps if you have the glass container unsealed and at the ready.
- Once the glass has become opaque, remove, and seal.
- Make sure to seal the container immediately upon removal.
Unique Ways to Smoke Cocktail
If you are throwing a party or have some smoke allergy, you can simply create an illusion of smoke that will add to your cocktail presentation. You can use dry ice for making such smoke and use it with a cocktail that doesn't have any fizz.
You can simply smoke fruit and use it for your cocktail. What this will do is give you a fruity punch for your nostrils and will also enhance the taste of your drink.
How about smoking a herb to dazzle up your drink? You can use a herb and burn it with your cocktail glass upside down. Now be ready for some earthy, bitter, yet unique flavors to your drink.
You may have come across several spirits that have a smoky effervescence, and two of the popular classics that are used most of the time are peated scotch and mezcal. However, you may have to work a little on your visual presentation. Our tip is to pour them in decorative or elegant glasses.
If you use some aspects of your cocktail as a garnish, then firing them can give you some serious smoke. You can use herbs or pine needles, which produce a fair amount of smoke.
Smoked Old Fashioned Recipe
- Four dashes of Angostura bitters
- One sugar cube
- One orange peel
- One maraschino cherry
- One splash club soda
- Two oz. bourbon
Steps to Make
- Muddle bitters, sugar cube, and a splash of soda in a mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir.
- Pour into a smoke-filled bottle and shake to incorporate the smoky flavor.
- Pour into an old-fashioned glass with a large ice cube.
- Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange peel.
Smoked cocktails are not only created for their aesthetics. Sure, it looks unique and fancy. However, what goes into making the smoke also adds to the taste and aroma of the cocktails. So, if by any means you plan to level up your concoctions, you can try your luck by creating smoke at home and adding it to your cocktail.
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