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How to Smoke Whiskey

by Jim Passantino November 16, 2022 5 min read

For whiskey lovers, there comes a time when the same old shot of whiskey doesn’t cut it anymore. To spruce things up, many whiskey lovers are gradually adopting a new trend: smoked whiskey. 

Luckily, this is a process you can easily do at home, and aside from enhancing flavor, it changes how you enjoy your whisky and enriches the entire experience around it. Think of a home-cooked meal versus ordering in. 

What Is Smoking Whiskey?

Before we delve into how to smoke whisky, let’s see what smoking whiskey entails. 

Smoking whiskey means exposing your favorite whisky to wood smoke. This gives the whiskey new, more tannic qualities of the wood. It also, of course, adds the aroma of whatever it is you choose to smoke. This contributes another layer to the drink by adding depth to the flavor of the whiskey. This is bound to excite the palate more. 

When you think about it, wood is a crucial part of whiskey since whiskey gets most of its flavor from the oak wood barrel it ages in. So while you can smoke any drink, combining smoke, wood, and whiskey makes a lot of sense. 

Best Whiskeys to Infuse With Smoke Flavor

You can smoke any whisky, though cocktails and spirits with the least number of ingredients work best. These tend to maintain their base nuances even after smoking. Stirred cocktails also offer good combinations with smoke. 

However, the top whiskies to try smoking are:

Rye

While bourbon and Tennessee whiskies are sweet and smooth, rye has more spice, kick, and body. It also offers diverse flavors: no two eyes are the same. 

If you have rye whiskey as your base, go for oak, cherry, or hickory wood chips to smoke. 

Rye has spicy notes that combine exceptionally well with these types of wood. 

Bourbon

Bourbon is arguably the sweetest whisky among all American whiskeys. It boasts a heavy body with a smooth feel in the mouth. 

One suggestion for smoking bourbon is using corn husks. Corn husks bring out their natural corn flavor and provide additional sweetness simultaneously. 

Wheat Bourbon

Bourbon distillers typically use rye and malted barley to make bourbon. With wheat bourbon, the rye is replaced with wheat. The result is a drink that qualifies as bourbon but with its unique flavor.

An excellent flavor to go with this is cinnamon. Because cinnamon is sweet, it accents the sweetness of the wheat bourbon while providing a lighter, non-overpowering smoke. 

Corn Whiskey

Corn whiskey is made up of at least 80% corn. Its taste has tones of sweet honey, browned butter, and creamy flavors but has no requirement to be aged in wood. This makes it an excellent candidate for smoking. 

A good sweet and savory pairing never hurts anyone, so you can try adding the charred nuttiness of pecan wood to corn whiskey. 

Aside from the above, you can also try smoking Canadian whiskey, scotch whiskey, Irish whiskey, blended whiskey, and single malt whiskey. 

Additional ingredients to try smoking are vanilla beans, rosemary, oak wood, and citrus peels. 

Methods of Smoking Whiskey

There are several ways you can go about smoking your whiskey at home with different types of cocktail smokers. The most common ones are:

Smoking the cocktail glass

This is the more traditional way of smoking a drink, and it gives you a light smoke flavor. 

Smoke tends to stick to chilled things, so begin by chilling your glass as you prepare your cocktail. Then take what you are smoking and fire it up, preferably with a blow torch. Avoid using lighter fluids, which can impart an unpleasant chemical flavor. 

Take your chilled glass and turn it upside down on whatever you are smoking. When you cover it completely, smoke gradually gets into the glass and sticks to the sides. 

Once the smoke dissipates, you can turn the glass over and pour your cocktail into the smoke-rinsed glass. 

This method is quick and easy and doesn’t require any specialized equipment. In addition, some people love the idea of burning something to be fun and cathartic, which enhances the entire experience. 

Unfortunately, some of the smoke in the glass escapes as you turn it over to pour your drink. The little that is left only imparts a light smoky flavor. This is a downside to some.

Electric Smoker

These are handheld devices you can buy for your home bar. To smoke a drink, drop wood chips of your choice in the heating element. 

You then pull the trigger with one hand, while you hold the lid on the glass with the other hand.  Pump smoke through the tube and into a cocktail glass. 

These are electronic devices which work ok. These electric smokers are also readily available, and you will likely find one quickly and affordably.

One thing electric smoker users don't like much is that it can be laborious and awkward.  Electric smokers also lack the character most whiskey drinkers appreciate. With wood smokers which sit directly on the glass, your job is done once you light the wood chips and allow the smoke to rest a few seconds. 

An electric smoker is more involving. After adding chips to the heater, you hold the gun with one hand while holding the tube on top of your glass with the other. Another unpleasant factor is that electric smokers take up room in your cabinet and are a bit drab looking, meaning they don't add any flair to your home bar. 

Smoke top lid

The smoke top lid from Aged & Charred is designed to add smoke flavors to your drinks easily. Once you order the kit, you get an oak cocktail smoker top, torch, butane, and wood chips. 

To use, add just a pinch of wood chips and burn them with the torch that comes with the kit. You can let this rest for 10 - 20 seconds before serving. 

This kit has a few things going for it; for one, it comes with butane, which many smoking kits require you to purchase separately. Also, unlike lifting a glass, this kit comes with a lid, which prevents smoke from escaping. 

Get the Best Today

A smoke top lid offers the best option if you want a simple yet sophisticated way to infuse flavor into your whiskey. 

As a whiskey lover, you deserve to enjoy your whiskey in its best form and without having to break your back for it. Our smoke top lid allows you to do just that. So get yourself the best smoke top lid from Aged & Charred today.



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