A cocktail and a show, all in one. Smoked cocktails not only add a depth of flavor to your drink, but make for excellent entertainment and a rich talking point for your guests. For cocktails and base spirits such as whiskey, a technique of cold smoking is utilized, in which we are flavoring the drink without actually heating it. No longer reserved as a trick for the most exclusive of whiskey bars – let’s explore the process of how to smoke cocktails at home.
There are several different methods of smoking cocktails–ranging in the intensity of the smoke flavor, equipment needed, and ingredients used.
Smoke-Rinsing the Glass
For the lightest of smoke flavors, this is an elegantly simple method to add a wash of smokiness to your drink.
Begin with a chilled glass, as smoke will stick best to it. Prepare your cocktail, but before pouring into the chilled glass, light the ingredient that you’re smoking with either a blowtorch or matches (we avoid lighter fluid due to the chemicals). Turn your chilled glass upside down over the smoke and allow it to wash over the interior. Upon dissipation of the smoke, pour your cocktail into the glass.
Smoke-Rinsing the Cocktail
A method to impart a heavier smoke flavor into the cocktail itself.
Begin with a large chilled decanter and a prepared cocktail, and again light your chosen ingredient. Place the vessel on top, letting enough oxygen in to maintain the fire and collect a good amount of smoke in the vessel, generally about 2 minutes. Once it has the desired amount of smoke, swirl your prepared cocktail into the vessel for about 30 seconds. Pour the cocktail into a glass and enjoy.
Double-Boiling with a Smoker
Using either a smoker or grill, this is extra effort option for the most intense of smoky flavors.
Pour the drink into a heat-proof bowl or pot and place into another bowl filled with ice, to ensure the drink won’t heat up and change the flavor. Place the bowls on a rack of the grill or smoker that is within range of smoke, but removed from the flame. Remove the bowls after a couple of minutes and prepare the cocktail as desired.
A specialized piece of equipment designed for smoking cocktails.
Create your desired cocktail and place the smoking ingredient in the chamber at the top of the gun. Use the gun to pour a controlled stream of smoke straight into your glass.
What ingredients you choose to use for your smoke can be an art form unto itself. Smoking options can range from herbs to citrus peels to classic wood chips, and bring a range of notes to your drink beyond just smoke. For example, with smoked bourbon, the use of corn husk is an excellent option as it slightly accentuates the sweetness of the bourbon. For gin, the use of smoked herbs can bring out the botanical notes in the spirit. We recommend experimenting with various ingredients when crafting your cocktail to see which aroma accentuates which drink best, or begin with our tried and true Smoked Rosemary Negroni recipe.
Smoked Rosemary Negroni
1 oz Joseph Magnus Vigilant District Dry Gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Aperol
2 rosemary sprigs
1 orange peel, garnish
Chill a rocks glass then ignite fresh rosemary sprigs and cover with the rocks glass. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into the rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange peel.
Find the award-winning Joseph Magnus spirits at a retailer near you and savor and display your own smoked cocktails using #josamagnus. Join our mailing list to stay up to date with the latest from Jos. A. Magnus. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date.