Do you love bonfires, gadgets, and drinking? If the answer is yes to any of those pleasures in life, then cocktail smokers are made for you! A cocktail smoker, or drink smoker, is used to impart a smoke flavor and aroma to cocktails, parts of cocktails, or just the cocktail glass it's served in.
Originally just used by mixologists in trendy New York bars, this gadget has been added to the basic bar tools of the trade like cocktail shakers, muddlers, and mixing spoons. But don't be intimidated to try to cool new ways to impress fellow cocktail lovers from the comfort of your own home bar! There are kits and affordable smokers on the market to get you started.
Pro Tip: Not just for drinks! A cocktail smoker can also be used to add smoky flavor to cheese, fish, or meat. Stick that turkey sandwich in there for a smoked turkey flavor hack! "Smoked" salmon, anyone?
How Do Cocktail Smokers Work?
Wood chips or sawdust is lit in a chamber of the smoking gun. A hose is attached at the end of the gun which is inserted through the opening in the box or cloche (glass dome) shaped lid. When the chips are hot, place your glass into the chamber, press the start button, and the cool smoke will begin blowing.
Mixology fans recommend using hickory, cherry, or applewood. Add layers of flavor to that smokiness by using aromatic nutmeg, cinnamon, rosemary, or anise seed as well. Tequila, bourbon, scotch and whiskey can be smoked neat or used to make an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or a Bloody Mary.
If you only want a subtle amount of smoke flavor, just place a chilled glass into the smoker. Smoke will stick to the moisture and then add your drink ingredients. For more smoke flavor, stick your whole completely mixed drink inside. You can also compromise by just smoking your base liquor.
Which Cocktail Smoker Should I Buy?
As the craze catches on at home bars, there are many high-quality smokers that make a great gift for fans of the smokey cocktail.
The Crafthouse by Fortessa Smoking Box is top of the line. Plus, it looks super cool as smoke fills the glass and stainless-steel box. Just place your drink in the box, insert the hose, and start your smoking gun. In seconds, the box fills with smoke like a magician's illusion and your drink will take on that aromatic smokiness.
Cocktail smoking kits make getting started super easy. The Smoke Board Smoked Cocktail Kit gives you all the supplies you need (except a butane torch) You'll get cherry, apple and pecan smoking chips- enough to make about 300 drinks! There's also a white oak smoking board, smoking gun, mason jar, and a carrying case so you can show off at your brother-in-law's house.
The Smoking Gun Wood Smoke Infuser Kit is another great kit pick up. The smoking gun works with AA batteries. Experiment with flavors with the included pear, cherry, hickory and cottonwood wood chips. You also get filters, a cleaning brush with tweezers, and a screwdriver to assemble!
The Breville Smoking Gun Pro is another high-quality smoker. The smoking gun has various speeds to really control the flavor and amount of smoke released. The cocktail smoking box is larger than other models which can be useful for multiple drinks.
If you want to just dip your toe in the world of cocktail smoking, the Gramercy Kitchen Company Cocktail Smoker is one of the most affordable and well-reviewed cocktail smokers available on Amazon. Just be aware it doesn't come with a lid. But you can buy one separately on Amazon also.
Products featured on Wide Open Eats are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.