Yes, I’m aware the very first column I wrote for this endeavor was a classic Old Fashioned. However, I don’t count this as a repeat because of one ingredient I’m adding: smoke. I’ve had a few smoked cocktails before, both using real smoke and artificial smoke flavor. Ever since I’ve been intrigued with the idea of doing one at home. Since I have a kitchen torch and some hickory chunks for my grill, you can bet that I used the real thing. I thought I would need to break down these giant chunks of wood, but I got lucky and found some smaller pieces in the bag, which looked prime for smoking.
Now that I’ve got some smaller hickory pieces, it’s time to light them and smoke the glass.
Normally, for the old fashioned, you build in the glass. But since it’s currently smoking, I’ll need to build in my mixing glass. Since I used the Waldorf recipe last time, I’ll try one from the PDT Cocktail book and wing it.
2 oz. Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey (I used Bulleit)
1 Demerara sugar cube
2 Dashes Angostura bitters
Muddle, stir with ice, and strain over 1 large ice cube into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
So obviously I didn’t chill the rocks glass per the recipe, and I used an orange vs. a lemon. But, how is it? Well, it has a very smoky nose (to the surprise of literally nobody). It is a little intense the first couple sips, but not too bad, certainly not like sticking your face in campfire smoke. The smoke does play nicely with the overall flavor. It adds a little more depth especially at the back end.
Unfortunately, the smoke flavor wears off pretty quickly. I think that could be due to two things: the glass itself and the amount of smoke I made. I used a standard rocks glass as I normally would when making an old fashioned. I think a snifter might be better, as it can hold the smoke on the wider portion of the glass longer due to the tapered shape, as opposed to the uniform shape of the rocks glass.
As to the smoke I generated, I didn’t ignite the hickory chips, but they were certainly producing a decent amount of smoke. I’m not sure if I need to heat them up longer. The good thing is the chips are far from spent and can be re-used going forward. Despite the above, the liquid retains a bit of tang from the smoking process throughout the drink, so it doesn’t completely go away.
Being my first foray into smoking drinks, I’m very intrigued and would like to experiment more. I’m thinking this style of drink will be much better suited for the autumn and winter months, as opposed to the summer.
(Banner image found here)