If you are confused about what a smoke infused cocktail is, don’t worry. You are not alone. Drinks with alcohol have been around a long, long time. The first brewed drinks showed up around 7,000 years ago and have been evolving ever since. Smoky cocktails are a recent development and have been part of the craft beer and drink craze that started in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
A smoky cocktail though? What does that even mean? Well, there seems to be confusion because it can mean several things. You can use a smoke gun, herbs, spices, or even just the way the drink is made sometimes makes it smoky. Let’s try to clear up the definitions of a smoky cocktail.
Different Kinds of Smoky Cocktails
Smoke Guns – Oak, Alder, Apple, Bourbon, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, or Pecan are all available as choices to use when infusing smoke flavors into a drink using a smoke gun. All you have to do is add the chips that you want to use and hit the button. Add smoke to the glass and then put a cover over the top of the glass. Let it sit for a few minutes and then pour your drink of choice. Check out this one available from Amazon.
Smoke Blocks – You can use all the same kind of variety when using this method. Basically you have a block that you set on a dish. You then take a blow torch to the block and then fire it until you get a nice smoke coming off the block. Then simply flip the glass over the block to trap the smoke. You can check out this set here on Amazon.
Smoking Herbs – Use the same method that you would use for the smoke blocks but instead substitute an herb for the process. The aromatic factors that are added to the drinks are out of this world if it is to be believed.
Smoked Fruit – Giving a smoky flavor to fruit is delicious on its own. Pineapple, apples, and bananas all have a powerful alternative flavor and aroma when smoked.
What Kind Of Flavor Profiles Are There?
We know that there are several different ways to add a smoky flavor to your drinks. So what kind of flavors and aroma can you get from these different things? Here’s a rundown of the types of flavors and aromas you can expect.
HERBS AND SPICES
MINT: adds aroma to the drink through the oils and freshness with sweet and bitter.
Used With: Fruity or light and refreshing drinks.
CORIANDER/CILANTRO: Gives your drinks an earthy, potent strong flavor
Used With: Tropical and summery, fruity flavored drinks.
ROSEMARY: Aromatic, piney flavor
Used With: Gin, Sweet and Acidic based drinks with lemon, lime, orange, cranberry, tomato, apple.
SAGE: Pungent flavor profile with sharp, aromatic potency and piney tones
Used With: Sweet or acidic flavors (pineapple, apple, citrus).
DILL: Aromatic pungent herb flavor, extremely distinctive.
Used With: Cocktails that allow flavor to take over, such as savory light martinis
TARRAGON: subtle herbal notes, lightly flavored, anise-like flavor
Used With: Citrus flavors, strawberry, and tomato
THYME: mild flavor
Used With: Fruit flavors to create warm weather refreshers.
BASIL: strong depth of flavor
Used With: Lighter spirits with lemon, lime, mint, and cinnamon.
CARDAMOM: woody, lemony, piney and fresh earthy flavors
Used With: Dry spirits such as gin with citrus flavors, coconut, and pear.
BLACK PEPPER: bold and strong flavor
Used With: Mulled wine.
Used With: Bourbon-based cocktails, ciders and dark spirits
GINGER: Spicy, Semi-sweet
Used With: Whiskey, Rum, Citrus and Vodka.
CLOVES: Intense, Warm, spicy aroma and flavor
Used With: Warm fall drinks, Orange, Lemon.
Alder – has a light flavor that works well for subtle flavor.
Apple – is very mild in flavor and gives a hint of sweetness.
Ash – has a light, unique flavor. This wood burns fast.
Birch – has a similar flavor to maple.
Cherry – has a sweet, mild flavor that goes great with virtually everything. This is one of the most popular woods for smoking.
Hickory – adds a strong flavor so be careful not to use too excessively.
Maple – Like fruit wood, gives a sweet flavor that is excellent with most things.
Mesquite – burns hot and fast, Mesquite is probably the strongest flavored wood.
Oak – is strong but not overpowering and is a very good wood for emulating cask or barrel aging.
Orange – is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor.
Pecan – burns cool and provides a delicate flavor. It’s a much subtler version of hickory.
Walnut – has a heavy, smoky flavor and should be mixed with milder flavored woods.
How To Smoke A Drink At Home
Smoking a drink sounds like a difficult task. The truth is, it’s not really all that hard and it will make you look super cool in the process. We all want to look and be trendy and this is a sure fire way to at least be a conversation piece if not the life of the party. When people see something cool going on they all want in. This may just be the ticket for you. So you’ll want to learn how to smoke a drink like a pro.
Here’s what you will need to become an at home pro:
- A handheld torch
- A metal tray
- Block(s) of different types of wood
- Loose Herbs and Spices
- Cut fruit
First, you will need to place a block of wood on the metal tray. You can choose to add different elements as well like herbs, spices, or fruit. When you are ready, heat the wood until you start to see smoke. Combine any other elements to the block of wood. Take your glass and tip it upside down over the wood and trap the smoke. Tip back over add drink and then place a cover over the glass. Swirl around for thirty seconds or so until prepared. Enjoy. Here are some recipes to help you get started.
Smoked Gin Martini
- 5 parts gin
- 1 part dry vermouth
In a mixing glass with ice, stir the gin and vermouth together.
Strain into a smoke-filled jar, agitate for 30 seconds, and let sit for 2–5 minutes.
Pour into a coupe or martini glass, and garnish with an olive or lemon twist.
Smoked Bloody Mary
- 3 parts vodka
- 6 parts tomato juice
- 1 part lemon juice
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- Dash of Tobasco
Add the Worcestershire, Tobasco, and a pinch each of salt and pepper into a mixing glass.
Pour in the vodka, tomato juice, and lemon juice, then stir thoroughly.
Pour into a smoke-filled jar, agitate for 30 seconds, and let sit for 1–3 minutes.
Pour into a highball glass and garnish with celery, bacon, and pickles.
Another timeless cocktail, with a sweet but sturdy flavor that can stand up to smoke.
- 2 parts rye
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes cocktail bitters
Pour rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice. Stir.
Pour into a smoke-filled jar, agitate for 30 seconds, and let sit for 2–5 minutes.
Pour into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with a cherry.
Remember kids, only you can prevent forest fires so please don’t do this while too intoxicated. It is more of a connoisseur’s passion. So smoking drinks at home is a great idea because then you don’t need a DD, but… you have to be careful with fire. All in all, I think you will enjoy these great tips and recipes. Have fun. Stay safe. Cheers.