How to Smoke a Cocktail

By Jamie Boudreau

Learning how to smoke a cocktail is easy and inexpensive. Jamie shows you how while making a delicious libation.

Recipe

Machine Head

1 part cognac

1 part rum

1 part Maker's 46

1 part Creme Yvette

dash each of Orange, Angostura, Chocolate Mole bitters

pinch of Lychee Rose Tea (for smoker)

Instructions

stir all ingredients except tea with ice and set aside

smoke tea in a cold smoker (the Smoking Gun from Polyscience works well)

capture smoke in suitable container that is large enough to hold the cocktail ingredients and smoke

add the cocktail ingredients to the container holding the smoke

shake briefly

pour over large ice sphere or cubes

garnish with cherries and orange zest on a pick

Comments
Chip 14 Dec 2010
11:54 am

I’m really interested to try this at home.  I absolutely loved the cubed old fashioned, and smoking a cocktail seems to be yet another interesting way to introduce more complexity to a drink. 
Have you ever tried using a vaporizer to infuse a cocktail with flavor?  While you wouldn’t necessarily get the smokiness that comes from burning the tea/herbs/etc., it seems you might get a more pure flavor that comes from heating them to just below the kindling point.  Thoughts?

Chip

Jamie Boudreau 14 Dec 2010
2:59 pm

Chip:
While I’m not familiar with vaporizers, it is my understanding that they normally do not “blow” the smoke out. The few that I’ve been able to find that have a fan are very expensive. I purchased the smoker shown for $50. If I wanted the flavour of a tea, etc without smoke, I would just infuse the cocktail with the desired flavour, or add the flavour in while mixing.

MrDelirious 15 Dec 2010
11:39 pm

Wait.

...Is this called the Machine Head because there’s Smoke On the (Fire) Water?

Crafty.

Jamie Boudreau 16 Dec 2010
3:45 pm

MrDelirious:
Good job on figuring out the name. I now smoke my cocktails in a Crystal Head vodka bottle, which works especially well here.

blair frodelius 17 Dec 2010
7:29 am

Jamie,

Have you seen the Crystal Head gift set this year?  It comes with two mini skull glasses.  Tres cool.

Cheers!

Blair

Gary Westfall 18 Dec 2010
2:10 pm

How do you make the big ice ball?

Jamie Boudreau 19 Dec 2010
10:01 am

Gary:
That ice ball is handed carved. The ball was broken down from a 300lb piece of harvested “pure” ice.

Oscar J Malek 4 Jan 2011
1:11 pm

Jamie, loved this episode and I’ll be sure to show my peers at cocktail bar Nuvo in Birmingham, UK. We’re all big fans of your work, keep it up!

Michael "Michaelogist" Kelley 19 May 2011
6:08 am

Jamie,

I recently bought the Smoking Gun and tried this technique out.  I’ve tried using a variety of teas, wood, etc.  My issue is that only the very strongest teas actually impact much of the underlying flavor.  Most of the flavor I’m getting is pure smoke.  Is that the intended purpose or am I doing something wrong?

Thanks!

Jamie Boudreau 19 May 2011
4:54 pm

Michael:
try to use “teas” that don’t have a ton of black tea in them. Floral teas or teas with flowers seem to work best. Plain black tea can get to be a little too tannic. Having said that, it is meant to be smoky: that’s the whole point! This is just another way of adding smoky flavors without using mezcal or scotch.

Tsiologist 31 May 2011
12:10 pm

Marvelous use of the Hibiki bottle!  It’s an especially appropriate nod to the hand-carved ice sphere. Suntory would be proud!

I’d love to do an infusion or some bitters with Lapsang Souchong tea.  I could smoke the Lapsang as well, but that might just be redundant, hahaha.

Mr Pink 23 Oct 2011
10:44 am

Hi jamie ! first off, great work!! i love ur techniques ;)
i wanted to upgrade my barware (mixing glass, stiring spoons etc..)but dont know were to look…woud u recommend any online sites for quality barware??

Jamie Boudreau 26 Oct 2011
3:31 pm

Mr Pink:
A good resource is antique stores and cocktailkingdom.com

Neil Donnelly 3 Jul 2012
8:32 pm

Pretty sick recipe Jamie. Thinkin about tryin something similar with Anejo. I just got in a Bourbon called Old Pogue. If you haven’t tried it. It’s fantasic. Any suggestions on Tea’s for a south of the border spin on this recipe or your’s?? Thanks again for all the help.

Jamie Boudreau 4 Jul 2012
12:01 am

Neil, when it comes to smoking, you never know what flavours come out until you try it. On the plus side, experimentation is half the fun!

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