Adding smoke to cocktails has been a trend in craft bars for more than a minute now and it’s not just a gimmick. This method can give drinks a serious flavor boost. Although it might sound intimidating to novices, the process is actually very simple if you have all the necessary tools. It’s important to use cold smoke if you want to make the drink. Hot smoke from a grill, or barbecue smoker, can cause it to be cooked. Bartenders usually use a “gun-style” infuser and a Cloche to add smoke to most drinks before they are served. But there are other options.
According to Sean O’Connell, bartender and brand ambassador for the Australian whisky brand Starward, you want to “build the cocktail with dilution first.” He goes on to explain, “Then smoke the cocktail before you add the last bit of ice. Garnish the cocktail with ice.
O’Connell suggests that you can also try smoking individual ingredients, as it increases the surface area of the smoke. For a subtler experience, you might also consider smoking the garnish or water used to make ice. A margarita rimmed with smoked salt and a small amount of chipotle pepper is a great choice.
You will discover that sometimes less is better. You can start with a small amount of smoke to find the right level for you and your guests. People don’t want to have their cocktails taste like they were served in an ashtray.
These are the top cocktail smokers.
The Breville Smoking Gun Pro is versatile. It’s great for people with high culinary skills, but also for those who enjoy experimenting. The large burn chamber, powered by four AAA batteries, makes it easy for users to load and allows them to smoke multiple cocktails at once. The flexible silicone hose makes it easy to point the smoke where you want it and variable speeds allow the home bartender to add a gentle whiff up or increase the smoke level to a more intense setting. The stainless steel barrel as well as the burn chamber can be washed in the dishwasher and easily removed for cleaning.
It’s good to know
If you are doing a number of smoker for drinks at once, it is possible to smoke a large batch cocktail. O’Connell suggests pouring all ingredients into the steam pan and covering it with foil. Then, use the smoking gun to fill the pan with smoke. Wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for between 30 minutes and an hour depending on how much smoke is desired. You can leave the batch without fresh juice for longer.
This is awesome. The smoker tech is amazing with its power and ability to deliver a lot of smokey flavor. But this collaboration between Charles Joly’s brand Crafthouse, a bartender, and Fortessa, a tableware manufacturer, is simply an outstanding way to present drinks. This glass box is finished with stainless steel and will enhance any home bar’s appearance.
This kit uses a lower-tech way to add smoke to cocktails. The wood chips are sliced into pieces and placed on a wooden board. Next, the drink maker heats the chips using a torch. Be careful and make sure your children don’t see the place you keep it. Safety first! After the chips begin to combust, you place a large mason jar over the burning wood to collect the smoke and then mix your cocktail in the jar.
The MITBAK cold smoking kit is affordable and includes everything you need to get started with cocktails. The box contains a smoking gun with rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a domed cover, wood chips, and a detachable and retractable hose. There is also a charging cable and a tweezer that can be used to remove any debris from the burn chamber. To control the output, the smoke infuser fan blows at three speeds. Although the kit includes a cloche, it cannot accommodate tall glasses. So if you want to do a cocktail in a stemmed glass, you’ll want to pick up one with a bit more height.
The 100% Chef’s Super Aldin may look more like something you’d find in a college dorm than a commercial kitchen, but this is a serious chef-friendly gadget. You can make a lot of different drinks with the Super-Aladin’s large combustion tank. The inner chamber allows you to add aromantics to your smoke for extra flavor. The brand also offers its own Jack Daniels-infused wood chips and different-sized cloches for different applications.
Breville’s The Smoking Gun Plus (view at Walmart) is a powerful and versatile smoking gun that’s perfect for home bartenders looking for professional-quality smoke-infused cocktails, and it works great for home chefs, too. If you’re looking for a complete kit that includes everything from the smoking gun to the cloche to the wood chips, we recommend the MITBAK Portable Handheld Cold Smoking Gun with Dome Lid (view at Amazon).