The Best Spirits To Experiment With Smoking At Home

smoked cocktail
smoked cocktail - Igorr1/Getty Images

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A good cocktail becomes unforgettable when you infuse it with a little smoke. If you're new to crafting smoke-infused cocktails at home, it's important to know the best spirits to experiment with. To help answer this question, Tasting Table spoke with Jordan Hughes, author of "Twist: Your Guide to Creating Inspired Craft Cocktails" and content creator behind @‌highproofpreacher.

According to Hughes, one of the first steps to making bar-worthy smoked cocktails at home is to start with a matured, high-quality aged spirit. He elaborated, "Various forms of American whiskey, like rye or bourbon, are great for this and tend to be naturally complemented by smoky aromas and flavors." Bourbon, for example, ages in new charred oak barrels and absorbs the smoky flavors from the char. Smoke is naturally one of the 9 most common tasting notes in bourbon.

However, Hughes doesn't want you to pigeonhole yourself with your selection of aged spirits. He added, "Feel free to experiment with others like aged rum or even cognac and brandy." If you need a refresher on liquors, we have an explanation and recommendation of the 13 liquors your home bar should have.

Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

Use Aged Spirits, But Avoid Smoking Fruity Or Creamy Cocktails

smoked old fashioned cocktail
smoked old fashioned cocktail - Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

Now that we know we should choose aged spirits to experiment with smoking at home, let's dive into the types of cocktails we can craft with this knowledge. Jordan Hughes wants you to start with spirit-forward cocktails. He recommended, "Think like old fashioneds, Manhattans, or other cocktails that are composed of primarily spirit and don't contain citrus or fruit. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but smoke doesn't always go well with fruit." This makes sense, as a cutesy, sweet, sour, and smoke-infused lemon drop cocktail doesn't sound as sophisticated and appealing as a smoke-infused, spicy, and sturdy Manhattan (here's what's really in a Manhattan).

There are certain cocktails Hughes feels you should never smoke. "A more strict guideline would be staying away from creams or cream liqueurs -- smoke really doesn't work for those at all." Now, if you're looking for a place to start smoking your cocktails, we have a smoky French 75 winter cocktail recipe for you to experiment with.

Read the original article on Tasting Table