How to Use a Cocktail Smoker to Make Bespoke Smoked Cocktails
When you go out for cocktails, one of the best parts is watching the bartender compose your drink. However, the most entertaining and impressive cocktails of all are those smoked cocktails. Mixology has recently undergone a wave of upgrades that go beyond the shakers, muddlers, and mixing spoons to incorporate a cocktail smoker to give your drink a smoky, savory, and indulgent twist.
Smoked cocktails aren’t quite a brand-new concept, for New York bartenders have been doing it for the last 15 years. While it looks complicated though, it’s easy to do on your own with a cocktail smoker kit.
What is a Cocktail Smoker Kit?
A cocktail smoker kit gives you all the items you need to create smoked cocktails. The old-fashioned and bourbon drinks are among the best to make with this collection of tools. Using a cocktail smoker, you can turn your home bar into your favorite place to have that 5 o’clock drink and entertain your friends and family. There are a few distinctive styles, but they all incorporate the use of wood chips and a smoker gun.
How to Use a Cocktail Smoker
Making those fancy, bespoke smoked cocktails will turn you into a master mixologist in your own home. It only requires a few simple steps to craft something that goes above and beyond in flavor. Smoking your drink gives it another layer of depth, one that invites you to truly sip and savor that moment.
With a cocktail smoker kit, you can infuse smoky flavors into your whiskey and scotch drinks. By smoking your cocktails, you allow the flavors of the drink and the smoke to infuse each other. The longer they interact, the more intensity it reveals. This smoking gun of sorts lets you turn your favorite drinks into more extraordinary creations, spoiling you with a smokiness that rolls over the palate with exceptional smoothness.
Depending on how you want to flavor your smoked cocktails, you’ll want to choose a method for smoking. The simplest way to start off is to rinse your cocktail glass first and chill it. Because smoke clings to things that have been chilled, smoking this chilled and empty glass will give a light smoky flavor.
However, if you prefer a heavier and smokier flavor, you’ll want to make your smoked cocktail and then use your cocktail smoking kit to smoke the whole thing. You only need some wood and heat for both light or intense cocktail smoking methods, creating that impressive and fragrant puff of smokiness that dazzles.
When trying the first method, you’ll heat the wood with the smoker gun until it generates plenty of smoke. Then you’ll invert the empty, chilled glass on top. This will put out the flame. You can then let it sit and steep with that smoke as you mix your cocktail the usual way. Once that cocktail is ready, you can convert it to a smoky version. Lift the glass of the wood slowly, then fill with ice if required, pour in your cocktail, garnish, and enjoy. Some mixologists even smoke the garnishes for a final touch of smoky flavor.
There are also cocktail smoker kits that sit on top of the glass, allowing you to torch the wood while the smoke seeps into the glass below. Regardless of which kit you choose, having one in your home bar means more elegant cocktail gatherings any time the mood strikes and ignites your spirits.
Ingredients to Avoid with Smoked Cocktails
There are some cocktails and ingredients that might not translate well to the smoked cocktail trend. Milk and cream-based cocktails are probably best without smoking. Clear spirits like vodka, gin, or rum will come out with too harsh a flavor, though you could technically make ice cubes with smoked water to use in some of these cocktails to give it a gentle hint.
The best cocktails to turn into smoked cocktails are the ones that are usually served stirred or a bit forward on the booze. That means whiskey, bourbon, and scotch drinks will bode best with this method of mixology. Of course, feel free to experiment with those lighter spirits or even cognac and wine. You may find you’ve crafted the next trending smoked cocktail!
How to Make a Smoked Old Fashioned
With a cocktail smoking kit, you can create an old-fashioned one that has more prestige and grandeur than ever before. You’ll want to choose a good bourbon or rye for this method along with Angostura bitters, water, sugar, or simple syrup, and an orange peel for the garnish. Ice cubes or a large ice block will complete your drink. If you want to keep the ice from melting away too quickly and watering things down, choose the ice block.
To make your smoked old-fashioned cocktail, you’ll want to put your water, angostura bitters, and sugar in a rocks glass. Stir these things together so the sugar dissolves into the liquid. Next, you’ll give a nice pour of your favorite bourbon. You’ll then have the option to add your ice if you choose to do so.
Once the drink is assembled, you can use your cocktail smoker kit. You can put the smoker top atop your cocktail, then ignite the wood chips on top. It will fill the glass with smoke. Let that smoke sit in the glass with the smoker top holding it in place for one to two minutes. If you’d like it to be less smoky, remove the top after one minute. For more intensity, leave it on for two minutes, then pull it away for the artful show of smoke to release. Once the smoke has floated away, take that first sip, and indulge in that smoked old-fashioned.