Smoked cocktails are alluring, a pleasure to make, and best of all, they're delicious. From using smoked ingredients like smoked maple bourbon whiskey and smoked sea salt to physically smoking your glass before crafting your cocktail, there are a number of ways to add some smoky flavor to your drink. Additionally, these various methods grant you the ability to tweak just how smoky you want your cocktail from just a hint to full-on bonfire.
If you're up for playing with a little fire, the following smoked cocktails are a great introduction to smoky sips.
Smoked Maple Old Fashioned
The Recipe: Smoked Maple Old Fashioned
The Hero Ingredient: Most standard Old Fashioned recipes call for simple syrup or sugar as the sweetener. This recipe instead uses maple syrup, which has the same effect as sugar or simple syrup, but is much warmer and inviting in taste.
Pro Tip: How Sweet Eats' Jessica Merchant reveals that this cocktail is smoked with the fruit rind in the glass. "We did our own little version of smoking a slice of lemon and orange rind in a glass before adding the bitters, maple syrup, and smoked maple bourbon," she says.
Why We Love It: From the smoked maple bourbon whiskey to the torched lemon rind garnish, this cocktail has several layers of smokiness.
Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider
The Recipe: Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider
The Hero Ingredient: The smoked element in this cocktail comes from apsang souchong smoked tea. Unlike most teas, apsang souchong smoked tea is smoke-dried over pinewood fires, creating a distinct taste.
Pro Tip: Aida Mollenkamp, Salt & Wind's Editor-in-Chief, warns that you shouldn't let the distinct taste of apsang souchong smoked tea steer you away from using it in this cocktail. "It’s a smoked tea that is way too much for me on its own but is a major do in something like this drink," she explains.
Why We Love It: With a combination of unique and craft ingredients, the Smoked Whiskey Apple Cider is truly a one-of-a-kind take on boozy apple cider.
Smoky S'mores Root Beer Floats
The Recipe: Smoky S'mores Root Beer Floats
The Hero Ingredient: Smoked sea salt lends a little smokiness and saltiness to balance out this dessert cocktail.
Pro Tip: Depending on how decadent you want to go, How Sweet Eats' Jessica Merchant explains that you can add a sweeter ingredient. "You can also take this over the top and add some marshmallow cream if you wish. Sometimes I’m into that. Other times it’s super-duper sweet," she says.
Why We Love It: The Smoky S'mores Root Beer Float is an adult root beer float with complexity, thanks to the addition of smoked sea salt and torched marshmallows.
Pineapple Hibiscus Margarita
The Recipe: Pineapple Hibiscus Margarita
The Hero Ingredient: An easy way to add smoky flavor to your cocktail is with ingredients that are already smoked. This Pineapple Hibiscus Margarita uses a hibiscus salt that features smoked paprika.
Pro Tip: For fresh flavor, stick with organic ingredients. "Because Azuñia prides itself on being an organic tequila, I like to keep my cocktail that way too and use only organic ingredients in the drink. Ripe, buttery organic pineapple, organic limes from my own tree, and even organic granulated sugar in the syrup," says Hola Jalapeno's Kate Ramos.
Why We Love It: The combination of sweet and smoky makes for a cocktail with varying layers of taste.
Smoky Mezcal Negroni
The Recipe: Smoky Mezcal Negroni
The Hero Ingredient: There are plenty of ways to add your own twist to simple syrup, but smoked simple syrup? Now that's a great way to elevate your cocktail.
Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to get experimental with your Negroni by opting for a spirit other than gin. "Because it’s only three ingredients, the Negroni is open to endless experimentation. Sub bourbon for gin, and you have a boulevardier. Sub prosecco for vermouth, and you have a sbagliatto," says Nomageddon's Matt Cetta.
Why We Love It: The mezcal and smoked simple syrup both add an ample amount of smoked flavor to the Smoky Mezcal Negroni, but the smoked simple syrup also works to add a touch of needed saccharine.
Smoking Blackberry Sage Margarita
The Recipe: Smoking Blackberry Sage Margarita
The Hero Ingredient: When it comes to herbs and cocktails, sage is one herb that certainly doesn't get enough shine. The addition of sage to this margarita brings out delicious notes of citrus and pine.
Pro Tip: Dry ice can be a little intimidating, but Wicked Spatula's Maya Krampf offered up some advice on how to handle dry ice when crafting cocktails. "Dry ice is perfectly safe as long as you use tongs to handle it. It’s also perfectly safe in cocktails as long as you use food grade dry ice and let it completely dissolve before enjoying your delicious concoction," she reveals.
Why We Love It: The addition of dry ice adds just the right amount of flair for those looking to entertain guests with a smoking cocktail.