Fire up fall’s woodsy flavour

There’s more than one way to add the autumnal aroma of smoke to cocktails. We explore your options. Matthew Benevoli photos

Fall has arrived and there’s a chill in the air, so it’s time to trade T-shirts for sweaters and cosy up with a comforting drink. Dark, boozy cocktails offering a warming feeling become our go to, and through smoking we can elevate those drinks and invoke a fireside experience.

There are many ways to smoke cocktails, using ingredients such as woods, herbs and spices, and employing anything from a lighter to culinary torches, wood planks and the handy appliance known as a smoking gun. Smoking might seem intimidating, but with the methods on the next page and some practice, you’ll soon be creating complex flavour layers in every sip. 

Whichever method you choose, practice makes perfect. Have fun experimenting—just mind those fingers!  

How to smoke cocktails at home

Method 1:

Toast a sprig of herbs (such as rosemary or thyme) until it starts to smoulder, then use it to garnish your drink, taking care to blow out any flames. This will create smoky, herbaceous aromas. 

Method 2:

Place a wood plank or chips on a fireproof surface, then torch it. Flip a glass over the burning section—this will extinguish the flame and cause smoke to fill the glass. When ready, re-flip the glass, pour your cocktail into it and enjoy smoke on the nose and tongue while you sip. 

Method 3:

Trap smoke in a decanter along with your favorite boozy sipper. Pour the cocktail into the decanter, then use a handheld “smoking gun” to fill it with smoke. Swirl the decanter and let it infuse for one to four minutes.  This forces in more oxygen and creates fuller, more voluptuous smoke flavour.

Make these smoked cocktails at home:

Jupiter Ascending
Rosemary Bee’s Knees
Churchill’s Breakfast

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