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Best Wood Chips for Smoking Cocktails

by Jim Passantino May 20, 2022 4 min read

Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire, but in this case, we’re tapping into the bounties of Mother Nature to infuse drinks with a complex and nuanced smoky aroma and flavor.

Smoked cocktails are by no means new, but we’ve seen an increase in their popularity in recent years, leaving many individuals curious about how to smoke cocktails, the benefits of smoking cocktails, and most importantly, what the best wood chips for smoking cocktails are.

Easy to create at home, smoked cocktails are a fun way to impress guests or treat yourself to a nice after-work drink come time to relax. With a few simple steps, the right wood chips, and a couple pieces of equipment, you’ll be set to explore what others have been enjoying for decades.

The Best Wood Chips for Smoking Cocktails 

The right wood chips make all the difference. Although you’ll no doubt need to experiment to find the perfect combo for your favorite spirit, the following represents the best wood chips to try out as you explore various recipes.

Oak

Ah, the mighty oak! It's not just a producer of acorns, but a favored wood chip for smoking cocktails. Notable for its medium-smokey flavor, you’ll find oak wood chips to produce an aroma and flavor that is bolder than both cherry and apple, but lighter than mesquite and hickory. And of course, since whiskey and rum are aged in oak barrels, it’s a natural fit for these spirits.

Hickory

Of all the wood chips that can be used for smoking cocktails, hickory is the boldest, producing a strong aroma and smoky flavor that is robust and an assault on the senses (but in a good way). That said, it is not usually recommended for those just getting into smoked cocktails.

Apple

Commonly used for smoking poultry and pork, apple is also a great option for smoking cocktails. These wood chips give off a subtly-sweet aroma and slightly fruity flavor that many find perfectly compliments a wide range of drinks.

Cherry 

Smoke from cherry wood chips is a wonderful addition to many cocktails. Fruity, mild, and sweet, authentic cherry wood offers a nuanced and mild complexity that is a perfect entry point for those just getting into smoked cocktails.

Best Whiskey Smoking Wood Chips

Whiskey is known for its complexity, bold attitude, and nosey aroma. It is also a spirit that goes decidedly well with notes of wood and smoke. Virtually all good whiskey is aged in wood barrels for this very reason…some are even aged in charred barrels.

For those who want to give their favorite whiskey more depth and flavor, while transforming its natural aroma into something that is lively and invigorating, smoked wood chips may be the answer.

The Best Whiskey Smoking Wood Chips Include:

  • Oak
  • Pecan
  • Cherry
  • Hickory 
  • Apple

How to Smoke Wood Chips for Cocktails 

What to Use When Smoking Cocktails 

Aged and Charred Smoke Lid and Cocktail Kits 

The best and easiest way to explore smoked cocktails is by using one of Aged and Charred’s smoke lids and cocktail kits. Each kit comes with everything you need to impress guests and treat yourself to a truly unique drink combination rich with deep smokey aromas and new flavor combinations.

Wood Chip Sampler 

For those who are just getting into smoking cocktails, choosing the right chips for the job can be difficult. Frankly, it's nearly impossible to know which wood and drink combinations will hit the mark for your unique preferences.

With Aged and Charred’s wood chip sampler, you get a unique assortment of the best wood chips for smoking cocktails. Aged and Charred’s wood chips come in three options. 

The first pack is a Bold Pack including pecan, oak, mesquite, and hickory. The second is the Fruit Pack of peach, apple, pear, and cherry. Finally, the Variety Pack includes a combination of the bold and fruit flavors with Oak, Hickory, Cherry, and Apple. 

All in all, these samples offer a lot of value, with enough premium wood chips to smoke more than 100 cocktails in each container. That’s 400 cocktails per pack! And at just $23.99 it’s a steal.

Aged and Charred Smoke Barrel Kit

Everything you need and then some, this smoke barrel kit is the perfect home or office companion for hosting clients or guests. Ideal for making multiple smoked cocktails at the same time, this setup is as visually impressive as it is efficient and functional.

Get the Smoke Barrel

Capable of smoking between 2-4 whiskey glass-sized cocktails at once, this LED-lit barrel display is as fun to use and watch as it is to consume the drinks it makes.

The Board and Cover Method

Whether you’re a purist or simply on a tight budget, the old fallback is the board and cover method. First, you’ll need to get all your wood chips in a pile on a fire-safe surface. Once burning/charred, you will use an empty glass upside down to capture the smoke.

While the smoke is trapped inside of the glass, you will make your drink in another container. Once ready, quickly flip the smoke-filled glass and pour the contents of the drink from the container into the smoke-filled glass. For better infusion, try straining the cocktail slowly into the smoked glass. 

The downside of this method is the smoke is mostly pushed out of the glass when you add the spirits. While it maintains some smoky flavor, it loses presentation points by not having smoke present at serving.

The Smoke Lid Method

The founders at Aged & Charred tested all available options for smoking cocktails. From the clunky ‘gun and tube’ method to the glass domes, and everything in between, In the end, the Smoke Lid and Smoke Barrel concepts won for several reasons. 

First, they have the character craft cocktail enthusiasts appreciate for something which is going to occupy some space at their home bar. 

Second, they are quick and efficient. The smoking process takes less than 20 seconds with these products. 

Third, they store nicely in the gift box or barrel, taking up little space on your home bar.

That’s Everything You Need for a Perfect Smoked Cocktail, Including the Best Wood Chips! 

Remember, enjoy responsibly! 



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