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 major 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 flavour of olden days back to their drinks, and in 2007 New York barkeep, Eben Freeman sparked a smokey revolution. 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.
For the at-home mixologist, a smoking cocktail is actually 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 apple wood, hickory, or oak sticks. If you are feeling creative, try using your favorite tea or an all natural tobacco.
But how to keep the smoke contained? Enter a sealable glass container. An old whiskey bottle works great for this and helps create an elegant presentation--because what’s a good cocktail without good presentation?
In fact, whiskey actually works really well with smoking. Check out Eagle Rare; it works really well with the smoked old fashioned recipe below.
Now let’s get to the exciting part.
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.
Next, prepare your drink of choice or try the one below.
Once your drink is prepared, make sure to stir it with some ice to help dilute and cool the beverage. Need a good stirring spoon? This one is great.
Next, unplug your smoke filled decanter, and slowly pour the liquid into the smoke. Shake a few times.
One key trick 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 flavour. It can get overwhelming quickly. Try a 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. This smoked cocktail definitely checks all three.
Smoked Old Fashioned Recipe
- 4 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 sugar cube
- 1 orange peel
- 1 maraschino cherry
- 1 Splash club soda
- 2 oz bourbon
- Muddle bitters, sugar cube and splash of soda in mixing glass
- Add ice and stir
- Pour into smoke-filled bottle and shake to incorporate the smoky flavor
- Pour into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube
- Garnish with maraschino cherry and orange peel
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