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Types of Cocktail Smokers

by Jason Lowder September 26, 2022 7 min read

When it comes to cocktails, we know that the world is divided into two camps: those who like them neat and those who like them with smoke. There's nothing wrong with either option, but if you're the kind of person who prefers your cocktails with a bit of a kick, then you might want to consider picking up a cocktail smoker.

There are many different types of cocktail smokers on the market today, but they all function in pretty much the same way: by creating an environment where smoke can be used as an ingredient instead of just an aesthetic choice.

With a cocktail smoker, you can infuse your drinks with smoke, imparting the flavor of things like bacon, brisket, and even salmon onto your cocktails. It's a great way to add another layer of complexity to your favorite libations while adding some smoky notes that are sure to please.

This guide will look at the different types of cocktail smokers and how they work, as well as some tips on how to use them effectively.

1) Smoke Lid/Top

Cocktail Smoke Top Lid


If you have ever wanted a simple and effective way to smoke your cocktails, then the smoke lid/top might be the right choice for you. Boasting a compact design that is meant for one drink at a time, this piece of equipment will help you create smokey cocktails in no time at all.

The smoke lid/top is extremely efficient, as it does not require any learning curve whatsoever. This kit from Aged & Charred includes everything you need to smoke your first cocktail, including smoke lid, wood chips, torch and even butane.  A few extra screens and brush to keep the screens clean are also included. Simply set the smoke lid on top of the cocktail glass, drop in a pinch of chips, and burn the chips with the provided torch.  It only takes a few seconds for the smoke to drop on the drink.  Give it a few seconds to rest and voila, you have a craft smoked cocktail. 

The smoke lid comes with a top so it will not let any of the extra smoke escape into the room, which ensures that you get only the best quality of cocktails.  These kits from Aged & Charred also come in nice gift packaging, in case you are purchasing for someone else.


2) Smoke Gun

cocktail smoke gun

When you're looking for the perfect cocktail smoker, it's important to know that there are several different types of smokers on the market. Some are electric-powered, and others are just simple burners. Some have burn chambers that are easy to load, and others don't. Some can even accomodate multiple cocktails at once!

The¬†smoke gun for cocktails is one of the¬†electric options¬†out there ‚ÄĒ it's an electric smoker with a heating element which gets hot enough to smoke your favorite cocktail ingredients. Some offer multiple settings so you can¬†adjust the¬†temperature.

To operate an electric smoker, you either plug in the device or make sure battery is installed and chareged, add your ingredients, hold the smoking device with one hand while holding the top with the other hand.  Turn the power on and the smoke passes from the heating element through the tube and into the glass.  If necessary, you can adjust the temperature as per your requirement.

Once your ingredients are in, and the temperature is set, all you have to do is wait for it to smoke. The Smoke Gun has a large capacity bowl although most cocktails only require a small pinch of chips. 

The smoke gun devices are equipped with a flexible hose, often made of silicone, to facilitate the flow of smoke ‚ÄĒ and¬†they come with a specially designed tip that helps to emit a consistent stream of smoke. There are several different types of tips, so you should be able to find one that works best for your needs.

While the electronic smoking devices get the job done and are used in some restaurants, they are not typically preferred by whiskey drinkers for a few reasons.  First, they can be a little clunky to work.  They also tend to take up more space than the wooden smoke top lid alternatives. Last, electronic devices like this lack character.  Some of the wooden smoke top lids, not all, are made from oak, just like the barrels which whiskey ages in. The color and wood grain are often associated with whiskey and bourbon distilleries.

In essence, depending on what you are smoking and where the device will be used and stored, the electric 'smoke gun' can be used to add smoke to your cocktails

3) Smoke Box

whiskey smoke box

Smoking your cocktails is a great way to add a sense of style and character to any party. It's also a fantastic way to impress your guests‚ÄĒespecially if you've never tried it before! And if you're worried about spending money on something that might not be right for you, don't be: there are plenty of options out there.

One such option is a smoke box. With a smoke box, old school design can help instill a sense of nostalgia in the product while modern innovation can keep it fairly easy to use

Essentially, a smoke box is a large-capacity smoker (often enough space for two drinks at once) that may come with an external smoker and a wooden or glass box often helmed in stainless steel.

The wood or glass box is often accommodated by an electric heating element with a tube, which leads to the box.  If an external smoker is not provided or the model doesn't allow for it, a metal tray may sit on top of the box which can be filled with wood chips.

There are a few downsides to the smoke box products when it comes to smoking cocktails.  In most cases the product is large and takes up a lot of space.  Some boxes require so much smoke to fill the box and flavor the cocktail that you might feel like you smoked the whole room when you take the lid off and remove the drinks.  Only a small amount of smoke is really required to smoke a cocktail.  More efficient smokers will drop the smoke directly on the glass or have an effective way to contain the smoke when the whiskey drink is removed.

Like all cocktail smokers, smoke boxes allow you to create delicious cocktails that are smoky and flavorful without having to pay the hefty price some craft cocktail bars charge for a smoked drink.  As for home owners, consider the size and space requirements before purchasing a smoke box.

4) Smoke Dome

cocktail smoke dome

Smoke domes are very similar in design and concept to smoke boxes. However, most smoke domes are glass and sit on a wooden or plastic tray, and are common for smoking appetizer foods more so than drinks.

Now, as for the working of the smoke dome, the first thing you need to do is connect the Smoke Dome with an external smoker gun that often comes bundled with it. Once connected, all you need to do is fill up your smoke gun with some herbs and turn the power on to start the heating element and smoking process.  Once the heating elements reaches the necessary temperature, it will begin to burn the chips and vacuum the smoke through a tube and into the base of the dome.  

The smoke will fill up the dome and eventually reach the tops of the glasses and should settle in on the liquid drink. In doing so, you will give your drinks a smoky flavor without having to add any extra ingredients.

Some domes even allow you to place the wood chips or herbs directly inside the dome. Once you have lit up your herbs, place them into the Smoke Dome and cover it with its lid.

Overall, the smoke dome can be an effective way for smoking appetizers and putting on a show while doing so, but when it comes to cocktails the smoke dome may be a bit overkill.

5) Smoke Boards

cocktail smoke board

If you're just starting out,  Smoke Boards are yet another option.  These also contain everything you need to smoke your own cocktails at home: and sometimes a mason jar that helps cover your drink and make sure it brings out the best flavors. This jar is often made of glass to help you get a better view of the smoke, but it can also be made of steel.  Unfortunately, most smoke boards do not withstand the test of time, as once you burn part of the board, that part is no longer useable for smoking drinks.

Most kids come with a wooden board to place your chips on and burn. Sometimes these are made of cedar or pine wood.  Beware of any cocktail smoker which is not made of oak.  Cedar, pine, and other woods can add a bitter and pungent smokey flavor instead of the rich campfire aroma and flavor of oak. 

Finally, some smoke board kits includes a carrying case in case you need something portable to be used at different locations.

Now, how do you use the smoke board? First find a safe place to smoke your cocktail.  Since there is no lid or cover to contain the smoke, you'll want to use smoke boards in places which are ok to absorb some smoke.

Next, place some wood chips on the board and set it in front of you.¬†Use a torch¬†and hold it above the smoke board until it begins to emit a blue flame. Once this happens, gently blow on your herbs or wooden chips until they start smoking ‚ÄĒ this shouldn't take too long.

Now place the drinking glass over the burnt part of the board or chips so the smoke reaches the interior surface of the glass. That's it! Now just mix up your whiskey concoction and add it to the smoked glass.

One thing to note, with smoke boards, you do lose the presentation effect of serving up a freshly smoked cocktail with smoke rolling off the top.  This is because you have to smoke the glass first.  By the time the drink is added to it, most of the smoke is gone, but the flavor will remain.

The Conclusion

Cocktail smoking might sound like a strange concept, but it's actually a lot of fun. You can use your kit¬†to smoke just about anything ‚ÄĒ from herbs to wooden chips and even tea leaves! If you want to get started with cocktail smoking, consider using any of the discussed cocktail smokers.

Each cocktail smoker is unique and offers its own pros and cons. If you still have any questions about cocktail smoking or want more ideas for drinks that can be smoked, feel free to email us or visit our recipe section for some inspiration.

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