How to Make Smoked Cocktails (5 Cocktail Recipes)

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When I’m grilling or smoking, I like to have a beer. It’s almost primeval to drink an ice cold beer directly from the coolbox while cooking over a live fire. But every now and again, I’d like to try something new.

If you read my recipes on a regular basis, you’ll notice that I usually end with a drink recommendation. This time, I’m taking it a step further by offering a range of beverages that are either smoked or have grilled ingredients!

From traditional favorites like an Old Fashioned to something a touch fruity to savor on a summer day picnic, there’s something for everyone.

Before we get into the cocktail recipes, I’ll go through the basic skills you’ll need to know to prepare these smoking beverages. You’ll then be able to try out different drinks.

Making smoked ice

How to Make Smoked Cocktails (5 Drink Recipes To Make)

Smoking the ice is a great way to give a smoky taste to cocktails.

Smoked ice may be used in almost any cocktail, but it pairs especially well with bourbon and whiskey, as well as creamy beverages like Baileys. Experiment and find what works for you. You’ll be shocked at how adaptable it is!

Making smoked ice is rather simple, and I’ve tried many techniques with varying degrees of success.

Method one – make ice first

The best approach I’ve discovered is to first produce ice.

For reasons that I shall explain in a moment, I like to use the large square block molds available at specialist shops. But first, why should you freeze water into ice in the first place? Will it simply dissolve if you smoke it?

Well, yes it will.

If you just pour water into the mold and smoke it, only the very top of the water will come into touch with any smoke, and it will hardly infuse any smoky taste into the water at all.

By initially freezing the ice and smoking at a very low temperature (about 160F), when the ice melts, more surface area comes into contact with the smoke, absorbing more smoke flavor. This approach, I feel, adds a mild smokiness to the ice without being too smoky, and it’s a fantastic medium ground between being simple and having a pleasant taste.

You can use pretty much any smoking wood you want and set up your smoker as usual, though I’d recommend buying some ice molds specifically for this purpose, as I can’t guarantee that you won’t have a slight residual smokiness in all ice you make from now on, which you might be fine with, but your other half might not!

Using the largest mold possible definitely prolongs the melting process, allowing you to get as much smoke flavor through the ice as possible. When the ice has melted, I usually give it another 10 minutes (just in case), and then it’s as easy as refreezing the ice!

Method two – smoke water first

Other ways I’ve done that you might try include smoking with water and stirring every 5 minutes or so. This means you may smoke the water for as long as you like, and you can even taste it as you go to build as much or as little smoke flavor as you want.It is, however, time-consuming.

Method three – use liquid smoke

The third and worst approach I tried was to add a few drops of liquid smoke to your water and swirl it through before freezing. This is by far the simplest way, but I dislike the taste.

Feel free to explore and let us know which you like and what works best for you in the comments! And, of course, experiment with smoked ice in a variety of drinks!

Smoked honey (or other liquids)

This technique is designed primarily for smoked honey, which is excellent, but it may be applied to any beverage. Again, experiment to find what works and what doesn’t.

You’ll need a big, shallow dish or tray for this technique of smoking honey, as well as the capacity to smoke at lower temperatures (150F-160F). It’s OK if it climbs up a little, but you don’t want to burn the sugars in the honey, which is quite simple to do! If you have the ability, you can even cold smoke your honey.

You want a big shallow dish to enable as much honey surface area as possible to come into touch with the smoke. At 160°F, I prefer to stir every 15-30 minutes or so, and 3-4 hours is a good time frame for a little smoky taste in the honey.

In addition to utilizing my smoked honey in this meal, I find myself using it for a variety of other purposes. Over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, drizzled over bacon, and my two personal favorites, drizzled over blue cheese with crackers and drizzled over a prosciutto-wrapped smoked brie!

Smoking liquids with a smoking gun

Because the liquid provides a lot of the taste in these dishes, you may enhance the flavors with a slight smokiness by employing a high-tech kitchen equipment. A smoking gun enables you to cold smoke things that your smoker may not be able to smoke, such as cheeses and fragile seafood, as well as infuse drinks with a smokiness.

I also use it to infuse a smokiness into an ice cream base before freezing it; keep an eye out for a forthcoming recipe for my Smoked Cherry and Bourbon ice cream! And it is for this reason that we will be employing this gadget to add smoke to fluids.

I’m using tomato juice in the Bloody Mary recipe below, but this approach can be applied with a variety of other liquids, so explore!

create about a cup of tomato juice and a few cubes of ice to your cocktail shaker, then use the smoking gun to create smoke. Put the lid on and shake briskly for 30 seconds, then sit and let infuse for 3-5 minutes before repeating.

This will give your tomato juice a mild smokiness; you only want a faint smokiness here since the bacon and smoked salt in the recipe below will add some extra smoky aromas. Close the cocktail shaker and set it aside until you’re ready to utilize the tomato juice in your completed drink.

Alternatively, use the same process as above to smoke honey (obviously substituting tomato juice for honey), but reduce the duration to an hour or two and keep tasting until you obtain the required smokiness. This will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

Smoking salt

Smoked salt is quite simple to manufacture. When I’m towards the end of a batch and need to use my smoker for anything else, I create a huge batch.

Instead of kosher or normal salt, use sea salt flakes (such as English Maldon Sea Salt) since the salt crystals are significantly bigger and hence have a lot wider surface area to absorb the smoke. Regular salt will not work.

Simply sprinkle your salt flakes onto a shallow tray, such as a cookie sheet or a big aluminum foil pan. It’s up to you how long you leave it on there, but I find you’ll want at least 2-3 hours, so put it in at the end of longer cooks, or use the residual heat of your smoker once you’ve finished, and just throw on another chunk of wood or two.

That’s truly all there is to it. Simply put, salt + smoke + time equals smoked salt. There is no need to be precise with temperatures or timeframes, and no probing is required!

1. Smoked Old Fashioned

believe again if you believe cocktails are just for females at wine bars! The Old Fashioned is an incredible classic, with a foundation of bourbon, something sweet to prolong it a touch, and a twist of orange and some bitters, the Old Fashioned is the ideal Cigar Lounge cocktail to relax and revel in. On a cold winter evening, I like to whip up this classic, and I’ve included my personal spin on it below.

What youll need:

  • Smoked Ice (see instructions above)
  • tbsp Smoked Honey (see instructions above)
  • 1.5 oz of bourbon
  • oz of sugar syrup
  • Couple of dashes of Orange Bitters
  • 1 slice of grilled orange
  • Old fashioned glass or whisky glass

Grilling the orange

Grilling citrus fruits entirely emphasizes and enhances the tastes, as well as slightly caramelizes the sugars in them, giving them a much deeper flavor. Try halving a lemon and grilling it cut side down over charcoal to slightly sear it, then squeezing it over a charcoal-grilled chicken. This is a game changer! We’re going to use the same powerful tastes here.

Simply cut some oranges into thick circular slices and roast them for a minute on each side over charcoal. If the orange becomes floppy, you’ve either left it too long or cut it too thin. You may then set them aside to cool before using them in your drink.

Building your Old Fashioned

  1. To prepare an Old Fashioned with my twist, begin with a conventional whiskey glass, then pour the bourbon over the smoked ice, followed by the sugar syrup.

You may use store-bought simple sugar syrup or create your own if you like. Simply add 1:1 parts sugar and water, bring to a boil until the sugar has dissolved, and then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool, and you’ll have a simple syrup that you can use for anything! Easy!

  1. Stir well to incorporate the bourbon and syrup over ice, then add a couple of drops of orange bitters. I like orange bitters over other bitters, but if you can’t find them, Angostura bitters are a good substitute and are widely available. It’s included in the original recipe for an Old Fashioned.
  1. Pour in your smoked honey. I prefer to remove the honey for this stage since it may thicken when it hits the ice.
  1. Mix completely one more, then add your ice back to the glass, give it a last swirl, and garnish with your caramelized orange slice. You may either add it to the rim of the glass or to the drink itself. As the ice melts, the complexity and smoke taste of your drink will alter!

Enjoy with a cigar, ideally with a giant dog, a blazing fire, and a bearskin rug in a log cabin. Thank you, buddy.

2. Smoked Bloody Mary 

The Bloody Mary is a popular beverage that is often linked with being a hangover cure. This one has a contemporary twist and requires some specialised equipment, but it may also be built easily using more classic techniques that you may be more familiar with! My approach employs a smoking pistol, but I’ll show you how to get a similar effect with your backyard smoker.

What youll need:

  • A smoking pistol (I use a Breville) and sawdust made from wood
  • Cocktail shaker (if using the smoking gun)
  • 1.5 oz of vodka
  • Tabasco or other similar hot sauce
  • Rasher of smoked bacon
  • A celery stick
  • Smoked salt (see recipe below)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tomato juice

Making your Smoked Bloody Mary

  1. In a highball glass, combine the ice, vodka, and tomato juice to make your drink.
  1. Stir in a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and a couple dashes of Tabasco.
  1. Garnish with a crispy rasher of smoked streaky bacon and a celery stick, then season with smoked salt and ground cracked black pepper.

Enjoy with a hangover. Cheers, mate!

3. Smoked Espresso Martini

As a refined, punchy drink, the Espresso Martini is quickly becoming a club and bar classic. Again, we’re going to backyard it and add some smokiness to it to give it the complexity I’m lacking.

What youll need:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur I use Kahlua
  • 1 standard shot of espresso
  • Ice
  • Martini glass
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Smoking gun (see above recipe for info)

Making your Cocktail

  1. Fill your cocktail shaker halfway with ice, then add the remaining liquid components.
  1. The smoking pistol will then be required to fill the shaker with smoke. I haven’t discovered a better way to do this than to utilize liquid smoke. If you use this approach, be VERY CAREFUL with the liquid smoke. You simply need a few drops.
  1. After you’ve added your smoke, place the shaker cover on top and shake violently for 30 seconds. Pour into a martini glass.

Enjoy with a chocolate cannoli. Cheers, mate!

4. Gin & Tonic with Grilled Watermelon and Mint

This is yet another take on an amazing classic, and another drink I adore on a hot summer day when cooking in the backyard. It’s really refreshing, and the grilled watermelon adds an added depth of taste.

The beauty of this cocktail is that there are so many variants to try, using various Gins as well as different tonics. I’ve included the precise Gin and Tonic variation that I feel works best in this recipe, but if you can’t locate them, use a plain London dry gin and experiment with alternative tonics.

What youll need:

  • Whisky glass
  • Ice
  • 1.5 oz Gin I use Hendricks
  • Tonic Water I use Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic
  • Sprigs of mint
  • Watermelon

Grilling your watermelon

  1. Slice your watermelon and place it immediately over a hot charcoal grill for 3 minutes, or until grill marks and a touch of caramelization appear.
  1. Grill the watermelon for the same length of time on the opposite side.
  1. Remove the watermelon from the grill and cut it into pieces.

You should do this as close to serving time as possible to prevent the watermelon becoming mushy, but you may also keep it in the fridge for an hour or two.

Making Your Gin and Tonic

  1. Fold a couple of mint leaves in half and massage between your fingers to release the fragrant oils in the plant in a short heavy-bottomed glass.
  1. Add one grilled watermelon cube and softly smash it against the glass with the back of a spoon to release some flavor before adding another. This one should not be crushed.
  1. Add your gin and tonic water, then gently whisk to integrate the flavors.
  1. Add a sprig of mint as garnish.

Enjoy alone by the pool or with friends in the sun with some brats on sourdough buns. Experiment with substituting basil with the mint.Greetings, buddy!

5. The Deputy’s Dilemma

This drink recipe is 100% original to me. My neighbor is a Deputy Principal, and I asked him over for some brisket or something one weekend. When I asked him how his day was going, he said, “Well, I have a dilemma.” I stopped him right then and told him that if we were going to set the world right, we should definitely grab a drink first. I decided to create some drinks on a blistering hot Queensland summer day. As a result, the basic Deputys Dilemma was established. I’ve since improved it somewhat, and here it is in all its splendor.

What youll need:

  • 1 oz of dark Caribbean rum
  • oz elderflower syrup (found at nice specialized shops)
  • 1 cup alcoholic ginger beer (not ginger ale)
  • A couple of sprigs of mint
  • Wedge of lime
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • Kitchen blowtorch
  • Highball glass
  • Smoked ice (see recipe above)

Building the cocktail

If you wish to drink a couple of these, feel free to substitute non-alcoholic ginger beer for the alcoholic ginger beer.

  1. Put a couple of mint leaves, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a slice of lime in a highball glass. Muddle everything together (essentially, smash it all together in the bottom of the glass with the end of a rolling pin).
  1. Fill the glass with a big cube of smoked ice (see above recipe for details on how to produce smoked ice), or use regular ice instead. Then, pour in the rum, elderflower syrup, and ginger beer to taste.
  1. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and smolder the top leaves with a blowtorch or lighter. If you serve this drink while it is still burning, the scent will enhance the taste.

I prefer to drink this on a hot summer day while grilling outdoors; it pairs nicely with spicy chicken, such as Peri-Peri or Portuguese style chicken, as well as Greek tastes to bring out the citrus and rosemary aspects. Greetings, buddy!

FAQs

How do you make cocktail drinks smoke?

The method is straightforward: fire the tip of the rosemary with a lighter or torch until smoking (if it flames, just blow it out). Place your glass over the sprig and let the smoke to fill it. To serve, add a fresh lighted sprig to the cocktail. The sprig will smolder wonderfully and provide a wonderful perfume.

What do bartenders put in drinks to make them smoke?

Dry ice is well-known for its magical ability to cause beverages to bubble and boil, emitting wispy tendrils of smoke into the room. Nothing beats the thrill of holding a flaming cocktail!

What is a smoky cocktail?

Smoking a cocktail, also known as cold smoking or smoke rinsing, entails smoking the whole cocktail or simply part of its components. This may be accomplished using a smoking pistol or a smoke chimney, such as the Smokeshow Cocktail Smoker.

What makes a cocktail taste smoky?

Ingredients with a smoky flavor

Smoked, burned, or charred garnishes or modifiers are another approach to impart smokey tastes to a cocktail. Herbs and spices like as sage, rosemary, and cinnamon stick may be briefly roasted or burned before being used as a garnish to bring rich and smokey scents to the glass.

What is smoke flavoring for cocktails?

Hay, herbs, cinnamon, black peppercorn, clove, and so on will all give flavor when burned and smoked. Light a tiny mound of your burn material on fire using a little torch. Douse the flame by covering it with your glass after it is visibly burning.

How long should you smoke a cocktail?

So, how long should you smoke a cocktail? The objective of smoking a drink is to mix the liquid and smoke tastes into a new and distinct flavor. Most experts recommend waiting between 3-5 minutes for the smoke to do its function. However, you are free to explore based on your unique preferences.

How do you smoke a glass for an old fashioned?

How does one go about smoking an old fashioned without a smoker? You don’t even need a smoker. Simply place the wood chips on a safe area and set them ablaze. Place the glass on top and let the smokey taste to begin.

Is cocktail smoking safe?

The smoking of a cocktail is a fairly safe and simple method that creates very little smoke and is unlikely to spark fires inside. Nonetheless, you should pay particular attention to both the cocktail smoking kit you select and how you use it.

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