In the era of Mad Men, drinking and smoking went hand in hand. Now the tradition has returned – sort of – as mixologists incorporate smoky components into their creations. Whether they’re infusing spirits and syrups, making ice cubes and garnishes, or filling tumblers, they’re employing a flurry of flavorful fumes of which Don Draper would surely approve. Here are 13 smoky cocktails to get you fired up for fall.
El Cielo by Juan Manuel Barrientos, Miami, Florida
This is not your average Old Fashioned. Made with Ron Zacapa Rum, cherry and orange bitters, and vanilla sugar, it’s finished with a rehydrated slim cut orange wheel. To add a smoky finishing touch, maple wood is burned inside a glass covering the tumbler.
Hakkasan, San Francisco, California
Have you ever sipped a Negroni and thought, “This is good, but it would be better if it was smoked.”? Now that’s a possibility. This version showcases gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari infused with a sweet smog created by Grand Marnier-soaked wood chips.
Woodshed Smokehouse, Fort Worth, Texas
Smoked ice sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s a delicious reality. The cool cubes form the backbone of the Smokey Maria, a tequila-ized twist on a Bloody Mary. Made with a spicy tomato mix and Herradura Double Barrel Reposado, it’s an impeccable way to start the day.
Café Artscience, Kendall Square, Massachusetts
Smoked orange peel and cinnamon add a finishing touch to this autumnal libation. Forged out of whiskey, brandy, orange-infused apple cider, and apple cider vinegar, its crisp flavors give way to a deep warmth — just what you’ll want at the end of a cool fall day.
Del Campo, Washington, D.C.
Everyone goes crazy for Starbuck’s PSL in the fall. The smoked pumpkin Old Fashioned is a boozy alternative made with Bulleit Rye, pumpkin cordial, and Peychaud’s Bitters. Before its poured, a chilled glass is inverted over a small stack of flaming canela (Mexican cinnamon), adding a smoky, spicy sensibility to the cocktail. You can watch it all come together here. [Photo by Greg Powers]
Trace, Austin, Texas
Now you don’t need a fork and knife to tackle brisket. The smoked meat is infused into George Dickel Rye, so you can sip it. It’s the spine of their take on a Bloody Mary pumped up with Pearl Snap Pils and garnished with a garlic pickle.
Quality Meats, Miami Beach, Florida
Aged rum and sweet Pedro Ximenez Sherry amp up this svelte sipper inspired by a Cuban cigar. To evoke the flavors of a smoldering stogie, housemade “Smoking Jacket” bitters and a cloud of peach wood smoke are incorporated. Cohiba not included.
Equinox, Washington, D.C.
Now you can smoke up at brunch. This Bloody Mary takes a long hit from a smoke gun loaded with oak chips. Though the rule is usually puff-puff-pass, you can keep this blunt force bevvie all to yourself.
The Dutch, Miami Beach, Florida
Have we mentioned lately how much we love bacon? Oh, yeah, and how much we love bourbon? Two of our favorite things unite when bacon-infused Four Roses Bourbon is combined with smoked maple syrup and Angostura Bitters to create the Smokey BBQ Old Fashioned. [Photo by Noah Fecks]
Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Washington, D.C.
At the restaurant’s subterranean sipping club Dram & Gram, the Ode to Omaha is a smoker’s delight. The cocktail is forged out of rum, seasonal berry and cinnamon syrup and bitters before being strained into a glass orb that would look right at home in Gandalf’s office. For a finishing flourish, the mixture is smoked with orange dulce tea and hickory wood chips.
Atlantic Seafood Company, Alpharetta, Georgia
Another riff on an Old Fashioned, this one features Angel’s Envy Bourbon and Bulleit Rye Whiskey, along with simple syrup and bitters. The cocktail is mixed in a chemistry carafe full of smoke before it’s poured over a tumbler full of ice.
StripSteak by Michael Mina, Miami Beach, Florida
Sorry, airline drink carts, but you ain’t got nothing on this. The four-wheeled wonder is loaded up with premium bourbon. Glasses are accented with smoldering cloves and a torched-to-order slice of peach goes into the mix before the whiskey is poured to accentuate the spirit’s smoky and sweet qualities.
Bottlefork, Chicago, Illinois
We love the phrase ‘large format cocktails,’ because bigger is always better. The epic drink is made with St. Germain liqueur, Germain-Robin Craft Method Brandy, Crème de Cacao a la Vanille, and Cocchi Barolo Chinato. It’s encased in a giant snifter filled with heady clouds from a Honduran Robusto cigar when it’s brought tableside, where the glass enclosure is lifted off with a dramatic flourish. The magic trick is complete when the cocktail is poured into a smaller smoke-filled snifter. Voila!
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell.