If you’re looking for smoke, you might find some excellent cocktails. Smoke has many uses outside of grilling. Bartenders have been experimenting with smoking classic cocktail formulas for a while now, and the result goes beyond appearances. According to Whiskey Advocate, New Orleans bar chef Norton Christopher said this about the scent: “The aroma excites the palate and adds depth to the flavor of the cocktail.” Smoking, in other words, creates multi-layered beverages with enticing scents and flavors. When you put it all together, you have a sensory experience that you can do without leaving your house. The lowdown on smoking cocktails, including what you need, how to light them, and more, is right here.
What Do You Need to Smoke a Cocktail?
You may smoke a cocktail in a variety of ways, and despite popular belief, a pricey smoking gun isn’t necessary. Your level of investment and the amount of smoke you want to add will determine your equipment choice. However, if you have a portable torch and a wooden board, you may achieve the same effect as smoking a gun—or any aromatic thing, such as herbs or tea.
How Does It Work?
Smoking a cocktail can be done in three ways: first, by washing the glass with smoke; second, by smoking the entire cocktail; and third, by double-boiling a considerable quantity. Which way to proceed depends on your desired flavor.
To get the mildest smoke flavor, rinse the glass with smoke. Because smoke is more likely to cling to cold surfaces, the first step is to cool your glass. Get your drink ready, and then set fire to whatever you’re smoking before you pour it into your glass. It would be best to use a blowtorch instead of lighter fluid because of the chemical residue it can leave behind. Allow the smoke to fill and adhere to the inside of the glass by turning it upside down.
After the smoke goes out, fill the glass with your beverage. If you rinse the entire cocktail with smoke, the smoke flavor will be stronger. Using a large container, such as a pitcher or wine decanter, you will carry out the identical procedures as smoke-rinsing the glass. Allow the smoke to fill the inside of the container for a few minutes after chilling it. Return your mixed drink to the pot once it has smoked to your liking. The majority of the smoke flavor will develop in the first thirty seconds, so don’t let it alone for too long. Transfer the mixture to a glass and savor.
The best way to get a robust taste is to double-boil a batch while smoking or grilling it. To begin, light some wood chips or seasonings and start a fire in a smoker or grill. Put the liquid you wish to smoke in a pot or heat-proof bowl, then place that in another bowl with ice. This creates a double boiler. To prevent the liquid from heating up and losing its flavor, simply add a lot of ice. Position the double boiler so that it may gather smoke without being directly above the flame.
Believe it or not, ice cubes can be smoked as well! (Indeed, it is!) They can significantly improve the taste of your beverage. There is a faint, not overbearing, smokeiness to the flavor.
How To Make It
While smokiness may be infused into any cocktail, it shines in spirit-forward concoctions with few components. Smoking might mask the subtleties of a cocktail that calls for multiple ingredients. Tobacco and stirred cocktails work well together. Here are some of the best whiskey and smoking cocktail combinations you’ve never tried before.
- To smoke rye whiskey, select oak, cherry, or hickory wood chips as your foundation. Rye whiskey, with its spicy undertones, pairs nicely with these woods.
- Do you have any corn husks on hand, Bourbon? The corn husks have a pleasant flavor and bring out the corn’s inherent flavor.
- Cinnamon goes well with wheat bourbon, another excellent flavor pairing. The cinnamon will bring out the sweetness of the bourbon while also making it smoke less.
- Corn Whiskey: Nothing beats a sweet and savory combination. Corn whiskey tastes even better with the toasted nuttiness of pecan wood. Both the sweet and salty flavors are well-balanced.
- Smoking whiskey with other components such as rosemary, oak wood, vanilla beans, citrus peels, salt, and ice is an interesting idea.
A Manhattan is the ideal smoking recipe to begin with:
Everyone should taste a Manhattan, a classic whiskey drink that has stood the test of time. It can withstand smoking thanks to its sweet but robust flavor.
- 2 ounces of rye whiskey
- One ounce of sweet vermouth
- Two dots of sweetener: Angostura
- Combine everything in a mixing glass and fill it with ice.
- Add 30 seconds of stirring.
- After 30 seconds, strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with smoke.
- Allow to sit for three to five minutes. Add a cherry as a garnish, if desired.
Tools You Need for Smoking Your Whiskey Cocktail
Portable Torch for Precision Smoking
A portable torch stands as an indispensable tool for aspiring home mixologist looking to infuse their cocktails with a smoky essence. Ideal for targeting specific ingredients or areas with precision, the torch allows for the controlled application of smoke, ensuring that the flavor is just right without overwhelming the drink.
Wooden Board for Aromatic Base
The wooden board acts as a foundational element in the smoking process, serving not just as a surface for burning wood chips or herbs but also as a contributor to the cocktail’s aroma profile. Different woods can impart varying flavors, from the sweet notes of cherry to the robustness of hickory, allowing for a tailored smoking experience.
Smoking Gun for Versatile Flavor Infusions
For those looking to experiment with a wide range of smoky flavors, a smoking gun is a versatile addition to the cocktail toolkit. Capable of infusing smoke from various sources such as wood chips, herbs, or even tea, it offers an easy and effective method to elevate the complexity of cocktails.
Large Container for Whole Cocktail Smoking
A large container, such as a pitcher or wine decanter, is crucial for smoking entire cocktails or larger batches. This method involves filling the container with smoke before adding the mixed drink, allowing the flavors to meld and intensify, creating a deeply aromatic and flavorful beverage.
Double Boiler Setup for Intense Flavors
A double boiler setup is essential for those seeking to imbue cocktails with a more pronounced smoky flavor. This technique involves placing the cocktail in a pot or heat-proof bowl, and then setting it over another ice-filled bowl. Smoking wood chips or herbs nearby allows the smoke to envelop the liquid without direct heat, ensuring the cocktail retains its nuanced flavors while gaining a rich smoky character.
Echoing Norton Christopher’s sentiment, the allure of smoked cocktails lies not just in their visual appeal but in their ability to engage the palate on multiple levels, introducing depth and complexity to each drink. With the essentials at hand, from a simple wooden board for imparting natural aromas to the sophistication of a double boiler for intense flavor infusion, the art of crafting smoked cocktails becomes an accessible avenue for culinary experimentation.