Smoked Old Fashioned Recipe

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Make an old fashioned cocktail with a modern twist! This smoked old fashioned brings a fun twist to the classic bourbon cocktail, make it your signature cocktail at your Halloween party!

Love fabulous cocktails that are Halloween worthy? Try this love potion, a poisoned apple cocktail, or some mulled pumpkin cider!

smoke floating from the foghat smoker on top of an old fashioned cocktail glass

Elevate your cocktail game with a smoked old fashioned cocktail

I've always felt that a classic old fashioned was for the 'serious bourbon drinker', but this fun twist makes it more of an awesome --and spooky-- drink that's perfect for a Halloween dinner party or any dinner party!

Foghat smokers are really easy to find and affordable, and you can use any kind of wood chips to take a simple cocktail and elevate the flavors into something unexpected.

This smoked old fashioned cocktail is an easy and fun recipe that should be a part of any home bartender's repertoire!

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History of the Old Fashioned Cocktail

Old Fashioneds actually go back to the early 1800's, being a mix of sugar, water, bitters, and spirits, garnished with a cocktail cherry or orange peel.

It was simple and potent, but as more complex cocktails came into play by 1850s and '60s, the cocktail came back en vogue in New York City for those who were used to the simple cocktails of the early 1800's...with the name 'the old fashioned'.

It's now one of the most popular and top selling drinks internationally.

Equipment

Double old fashioned glass - this is also called a 'rocks glass', and it's the classic choice for this cocktail.

Cocktail smoker or smoke gun - I use an old fashioned cocktail smoker top, let it sit on the top of the glass for a couple of minutes to let that smoke really infuse before removing.

Wood Chips - You can buy wood chips for smoking cocktails easily on Amazon, at some boutique distillery, 

Culinary Torch - a must to burn the wood. A regular lighter just doesn't seem to add smoke in the same amount.

The Best Cocktail Smokers: Foghat cocktail smoker or Smoking Gun

There are two types of cocktail smokers: an individual cocktail smoker and the smoking gun.

In this recipe I used a foghat-style smoker, which is perfect when you're making only one or two cocktails at home. It sits on top of the drink, with a chimney where wood chips are burned and the smoke floats down onto the cocktail. 

These chimney-shaped smokers are more affordable than the gun smokers and are easier to use, in my opinion, to add smoke to your drink.

This smoker gives the individual guest the ability to smoke their own cocktail and helps create a magical cocktail experience at your next party. 

The other type is the smoking gun, which is a small handheld device more versatile in its usage and you can do things like make a cloche full of smoked cocktails or smoke other foods with it. It's also much more expensive and can have a learning curve. 

Key Ingredients

Twist of Orange Peel - orange zest is a classic ingredient in an old fashioned, I also like adding a maraschino cherry since we love sweet flavors in our drinks.

Dashes of Angostura Bitters - Angostura bitters are spicy and bitter, with notes of cloves and cinnamon.

Good Bourbon - Use your favorite barrel-proof bourbon, a bourbon that's nice and strong and smooth. That doesn't have to mean expensive, but it does mean enjoyable!

Sugar Cube - I like the richness from raw sugar that you won't get with the traditional white sugar cube, but if you're not into sugar you can use pure maple syrup.

A Large Ice Cube - one large ice cube is how you serve a classic old fashioned cocktail. I used this skull ice mold, it really made an awesome ice cube!

The Best Bourbon for Old Fashioneds

Here's what I've gathered about the best liquor for this classic cocktail:

  • Look for a whiskey or bourbon that is at least 90 proof, so it doesn't dilute as the ice melts.
  • Because this is a whiskey cocktail with such simple ingredients, choose your whiskey wisely. Bourbons are more sweet, while rye whiskey is more *spicy*.
  • Want a few of my favorites? These are a few classic brands that do not disappoint: Uncle Nearest, Maker's Mark, and Woodford Reserve.
bourbon being poured into a glass for an old fashioned cocktail

Best Bitters for Old Fashioned Cocktail recipes

Bitters are highly concentrated alcohol-based tinctures used sparingly to flavor cocktails, used as medicines, or even in food! There are two classic bitters types to consider:

  • Angostura Bitters - a classic bitter in the old fashioned cocktail, made by the House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. It's made with gentian, clove, cinnamon, and other spices and herbs, so these bitters have a spicy
  • Orange Bitters - these are bitters made with Seville orange peels, burnt sugar, and spices like coriander, cardamom, and anise. Orange bitters are sweeter

Smoke a Cocktail: What kind of Wood to Use

In our experience, my husband and I have different tastes when it comes to the smoke in an old fashioned cocktail. I personally love the more delicate, sweeter flavors of maple or cherry wood, he actually likes the smoky, spicy flavor hickory with his old fashioneds. This is also a good thing to know whether you are using a sweeter bourbon or spicier rye whiskey.

This post all about the different woods and variations one can use to change and add smoke flavor to a cocktail, so give it a read if you want to dive into all the different ways you can use smoke to flavor a cocktail.

How to Make a Smoked Old Fashioned 

Steps 1 and 2 are optional, but I enjoy double smoking the old fashioned! They add extra smoke flavor to your cocktail and a depth of flavor to each ingredient. 

Step 1 | Add the sugar cube, ice cubes, cherry, and orange bitters to your glass.

Step 2 | Set the foghat smoker on top of the cocktail glass, fill the chimney with your wood chips of choice, and smoke the ingredients for 1 minute.

Step 3 | Pour your bourbon or whiskey over the sugar and bitters

smoke floating from the foghat smoker on top of an old fashioned cocktail glass

Step 4 | Smoke the foghat on top of the glass for 1-2 minutes to smoke the whiskey, then remove the foghat and serve!

Variations and Substitutions

There are tons of great options to give more twists and unique spins on an old fashioned, simple ones like a change in garnish to more advanced things like smoking ice or smoking your sweetener.

Sprig of Rosemary - not only will this add those aromatic terpenes, you can use it like a seasonal swizzle stick.

Orange Slice - a whole orange slice is pretty traditional in old fashioned cocktails

Luxardo Cherries - Instead of sweet maraschinos, these sour cherries are soaked in luxardo liqueur. They're more expensive but more luxe, too.

Cinnamon Stick - another seasonal swizzle stick, it'll also release those wonderful oils it has and lend its flavor to your old fashioned.

Pure Maple Syrup - smoked maple syrup can be used in lieu of the sugar cube, you can smoke it in the glass using the method I talked about above in the Instruction section.

Pro Tips

If using the smoking gun to add smoke to the cocktail, use a piece of saran wrap over the rim of the glass to hold it in or use a cloche!

Love sweeter cocktails? Go for another sugar cube and smoke sweeter woods and flavors like vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and maple wood.

cherry being dropped into a smoked old fashioned cocktail

FAQs

Which smoker is the best to smoke cocktails?

A great choice is the breville smoking gun, since it's so versatile. Another great choice is to buy a foghat cocktail smoker, which sits on top of the glass and pours in smoke. I also have a link to the skull shaped smoker used in the photos (great for halloween!).

Why smoke a cocktail?

Besides looking really cool, smoking cocktails allows the creator to build different flavors through both taste and smell, turning the usual drink into something with totally unique flavor profiles. This post about smoking cocktails will tell you more.

What wood chips should I use?

There are surprisingly many different flavors of wood chips you can use. We used peach for this recipe, though cherry wood also create a light smoke as well. Each wood has their own unique flavor profiles.
I would not recommend heavier woods, like mesquite, that would mask the taste of your bourbon.
There are cocktail wood chips available online, these are my favorite wood chips to use.

More Whiskey / Bourbon cocktail recipes:

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📖 Recipe

smoke floating from the foghat smoker on top of an old fashioned cocktail glass

Smoked Old Fashioned Recipe

Eden Westbrook
Impress the whiskey lovers in your life with a smoked old fashioned cocktail. This recipe is an easy and beautiful conversation piece that takes a modern twist on this classic cocktail!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 433 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 sugar cube or one teaspoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon water
  • 3 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 strip orange peel
  • 1 cocktail cherry

Instructions
 

  • Place sugar cube in your old fashioned/ rocks glass. Pour in water and bitters, then stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Pour in two ounces bourbon.
  • Squeeze the orange peel into the drink to release the oils. Gently run the peel around the edge of the glass, then place it in the cocktail. Garnish with the cocktail cherry. 
  • Use your cocktail smoker (foghat) or smoking gun with tube and fill the glass with smoke. Cover it with plastic wrap (if not using a foghat smoker) and let the cocktail and smoke rest for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove cover and add ice cube. Enjoy cold.

Notes

Variations and Substitutions

There are tons of great options to give more twists and unique spins on an old fashioned, simple ones like a change in garnish to more advanced things like smoking ice or smoking your sweetener.
Sprig of Rosemary - not only will this add those aromatic terpenes, you can use it like a seasonal swizzle stick.
Orange Slice - a whole orange slice is pretty traditional in old fashioned cocktails
Luxardo Cherries - Instead of sweet maraschinos, these sour cherries are soaked in luxardo liqueur. They're more expensive but more luxe, too.
Cinnamon Stick - another seasonal swizzle stick, it'll also release those wonderful oils it has and lend its flavor to your old fashioned.
Pure Maple Syrup - smoked maple syrup can be used in lieu of the sugar cube, you can smoke it in the glass using the method I talked about above in the Instruction section.

Pro Tips

If using the smoking gun to add smoke to the cocktail, use a piece of saran wrap over the rim of the glass to hold it in or use a cloche!
Love sweeter cocktails? Go for another sugar cube and smoke sweeter woods and flavors like vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and maple wood.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 433kcalCarbohydrates: 20gSodium: 3mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17g
Tried this recipe?Leave a star rating and let us know!

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