If you’ve heard of the smoked old fashioned, but have no idea how to make one, or how to make smoked cocktails in general, well here is your primer on all things GRILLED and SMOKED COCKTAILS! Here is my full tutorial for making a smoked old fashioned with cedar planks!
Why Smoke A Cocktail?
First of all, why smoke a cocktail? The answer is that adding smoke flavor adds a layer of complexity to any drink. Bourbon, which must be 51% corn and aged in new charred oak barrels is the perfect spirit for infusing with smoke flavor.
Bourbon: the perfect medium for smoke flavor
Adding smoke flavor to bourbon amplifies it’s already slightly sweet flavor, which makes it an awesome complement to grilled meats and BBQ, am I right? This technique works on any spirit by the way so explore all the possibilities for smoke flavor! Some spirits, like mescal, are naturally smokey and lend themselves to being a great medium for adding smoke flavor. If you like Mezcal, then definitely try my Mezcal Mint recipe! It’s an awesome alternative to a Mint Julep.
How to Smoke Bourbon, or any Spirit – WITHOUT A SMOKER
There are MANY way to add smoke flavor to a cocktail that don’t require you to own a smoker. Anyone living in an apartment in the city can easily make smoked cocktails inside without setting off their smoke alarm using either cedar planks or a hand held smoking device like “the smoking gun”.
Here are my favorite two ways:
There is a handheld smoking device called The Smoking Gun that makes it easy to infuse just about anything with smoke- soups, casseroles, whatever you fancy. This is essentially a cold smoking tool that generates smoke that you can infuse into all the things. Some come with a “cloche” and some you just buy the gun and point the tube to what you want to add smoke to and then engulf the food with smoke by securing it with plastic wrap.
This is by far one of my most favorite ways to add smoke to any cocktail because it’s a fun party trick when you have people over. Technically all you really need is a cedar plank, but I like to add bourbon barrel dust for extra smoky bourbon flavor to my old fashioned. Check out my video where I give you the play by play on how to do this! You can also add fresh herbs to the mix to add some herbaceous flavor to your cocktail. Have fun with this technique!
Mason jar – to trap the smoke and pour the liquor into
How to smoke bourbon, or any kind of spirit, WITH a Smoker or Grill
There are many ways to infuse a drink with smoke flavor where you don’t actually have to put the liquor onto your smoker that I will explain below before we get into actually putting bourbon into your smoker.
How To Infuse Smoke Flavor into Your Cocktails:
SMOKE YOUR COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS
I’ve done this in my grilled margarita and smoked paloma recipe where you grill the fruit which caramelizes the fruit and amplifies it’s flavor before juicing to put into your cocktail. I’ve also done this by smoking tomatoes for my bloody mary recipe.
MAKE SMOKED ICE
This is done placing a pan of water on your smoker after you have smoked something. Place the pan of water on your smoker and let it hand out as the smoker cools down. I sometimes will even leave mine overnight. Use a fine mesh sieve to drain out any dust or charcoal specks that may have made it into the pan. From there, you can put the ice into cocktail ice molds and as they melt it will add smoke flavor to your cocktai. Notice that I add orange slices and rosemary for a nice presentation to my ice cubes.
SMOKE BOURBON on your SMOKER
After you have smoked something and you still have blue smoke, place your bourbon in a pan the same way you would do the water in the step listed above. NOTE: If you are using a pellet smoker which don’t actually produce a lot of smoke flavor, I recommend adding in a SMOKER TUBE to ensure you get enough smokiness. Repeat the steps above except when you are finished, except instead pour the bourbon into a labeled mason jar or back into the original bottle it came in.
Ingredients for the Smoked Old Fashioned
- Smoked Bourbon- see notes above on how to add smoke flavor (with or without a smoker- I got you covered!)
- Maple Syrup or Simple Syrup (I prefer the richness that Maple Syrup provides)
- Orange bitters
- Orange Zest
- Maraschino cherries – look for maraschino cherries without red food dye (red dye # 40 is a known carcinogen). I like Luxardo’s Cocktail Cherries.
Rye makes a great substitution for bourbon. You can experiment with simple syrup versus maple syrup, different types of bitters, have fun with it!
Depending on how you want to add smoke to your bourbon, you can use any of these tools to accomplish smoke flavor:
Without a Smoker:
Cedar Plank and Wood Chips
- Smoker Tube
Tips for Making:
I like to make my own smoked ice with orange and rosemary for additional flavor. You can also infuse your simple syrup with rosemary for additional flavor notes. Have fun with the process and experimenting to make it your own!
Do you love Smoked Cocktails? Check out my smoked cocktails page where you can find my Grilled Margarita, my Smokey Paloma, Award Winning Bloody Mary Recipe and my newest cocktail recipe, the Bacon- BBQ Tini!
If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment below and follow and tag me on the gram so I can see how it turned out!
Once you've had a smoked old fashioned, which is easily achieved without needing a grill or smoker at home, this will be your new favorite way to enjoy this classic bourbon cocktail.
• 2 oz good quality bourbon
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters, or to taste
• 1 large segment orange peel
• 1 teaspoon simple syrup OR maple syrup – (simple syrup is a 1/1 ration sugar/water. Cook with rosemary sprig to infuse flavor into the syrup. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week for making cocktails). Maple syrup is a great alternative to simple syrup and compliments the flavor of the bourbon.
• 1 maraschino cherry
In a decanter or large glass pitcher, add the bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters. Next, turn on your smoking gun and infuse the pitcher with smoke for 1-2 minutes; close the container with a piece of saran wrap so the smoke is trapped into the pitcher. Swirl the bourbon around and then pour it into a old fashioned glass filled with ice. Take the orange peel and swirl around the rim of the glass and then add to the drink. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!
Alternately, you can use a cedar plank with wood chips to create smoke and then trap the smoke into a mason jar. From there, add your bourbon to the jar and let the smoke infuse into the bourbon and follow the remaining recipe directions above.
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- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: none
- Category: smoked cocktails
- Method: smoke
- Cuisine: cocktails, bourbon
Keywords: smoked bourbon, how to make smoked cocktails, smoked ice, smoked old fashioned cocktail, how to smoke bourbon, how to make smoked cocktails, smoked old fashioned recipe