7 Bourbon Cocktails With a Twist (Hint: It’s Smoke)

Adding smoke to cocktails isn’t just a trick for show; it infuses deep, tantalizing flavors that enhance the bourbon’s inherent qualities, creating a sensory experience that’s both aromatic and visually captivating.

The charm of bourbon lies in its rich, multifaceted flavor profile, perfect for crafting cocktails that tell a story in every sip. In this listicle, we explore seven sophisticated bourbon cocktails, each with a unique twist—smoke. Adding smoke to cocktails isn’t just a trick for show; it infuses deep, tantalizing flavors that enhance the bourbon’s inherent qualities, creating a sensory experience that’s both aromatic and visually captivating.

Why Smoke?

Smoking cocktails is a culinary art that imparts complexity and a new flavor dimension to your drink. The smoky flavor can balance the sweetness of bourbon and add a rustic, often nostalgic appeal that enhances the drinking experience. It’s about more than just taste; the aroma of smoke evokes a primal pleasure, the visual of swirling smoke captivates, and the tactile experience of a slightly warmed glass in your hands delights. Incorporating smoke into bourbon cocktails transforms them from mere beverages to immersive experiences.

1. Smoked Maple Old Fashioned

Elevate the classic Old Fashioned with a dash of smoked maple syrup, enhancing the traditional caramel notes of bourbon with a smoky sweetness that lingers on the palate.

2. Cedar-Smoked Manhattan

Introduce a cedar plank’s smoky aroma into your Manhattan by briefly smoking the glass before pouring in a mix of bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters for a rustic twist.

3. Hickory Smoked Whiskey Sour

Add complexity to the Whiskey Sour by incorporating hickory smoke into the shaker before adding your bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup, giving this favorite a deep, smoky edge.

4. Cherrywood Smoked Boulevardier

Cherrywood chips infuse a smoky flavor into the bourbon, Campari, and vermouth mix of the Boulevardier, balancing the sweet and bitter elements with a fruity, smoky infusion.

5. Applewood Smoked Mint Julep

Before muddling the mint, smoke it with applewood to introduce a subtly sweet and fruity smoke flavor that complements the freshness of the mint and richness of the bourbon.

6. Mesquite Smoked Sazerac

Mesquite’s intense smoke is perfect for a Sazerac, pairing well with the absinthe rinse and complementing the herbal rye and anise flavors for a deeply aromatic experience.

7. Pecan Smoked Peach Bourbon Smash

Smoke fresh peaches with pecan wood before mashing them with mint, bourbon, and lemon juice for a Southern-inspired cocktail that’s perfect for summer evenings.

Each cocktail in this list brings a unique smoky twist to traditional recipes, using different types of wood to enhance and complement the complex flavors of bourbon. Enjoy exploring these smoky innovations that add a classy and distinctive touch to any gathering.

What You’ll Need to Make These at Home

To start smoking your bourbon cocktails at home, you’ll need a few key tools and ingredients:

  1. Drink/Cocktail Smoker: Seen here at Aged & Charred, these devices are perfect for infusing your cocktails with a controlled amount of smoke.
  2. Wood Chips: Different woods like hickory, applewood, cedar, and mesquite offer various flavor profiles. Choose based on the complementary flavors you want in your drink.
  3. Cocktail Ingredients: Gather quality bourbon, fresh garnishes, and your other cocktail components.
  4. Ice: Smoke adheres better to colder surfaces, so having plenty of ice is crucial for chilling your cocktails and enhancing the smoke’s effect.
  5. Glassware: Choose the right glass to serve your smoked cocktails; traditional choices include rocks glasses and coupes.

With these tools and ingredients, you can expertly craft smoked bourbon cocktails that are sure to impress at any gathering, combining the timeless allure of bourbon with the sophisticated edge of smoke.

Exploring these seven smoked bourbon cocktails offers a gateway to enhancing your mixology skills with a sophisticated twist. By introducing smoke, each cocktail not only delivers unique flavors but also creates a memorable drinking experience that goes beyond the glass. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or enjoying a quiet night in, these smoked creations are sure to impress, blending tradition with innovation in each smoky sip. So, gather your tools, choose your wood chips, and prepare to transform your home bar with these standout smoked bourbon cocktails.