This winter, mixologists are playing with fire—literally. Check out these nine cocktails with notes of wood, ash and fire to set the mood for the colder months at a notable bar near you.
Can’t make it to any of the bars serving these great smoky drinks? Try making the Smoky Sour at home.
1. Beetlejuice (Bacchus Bar, Kimpton Hotel Vintage, Portland, Ore.)
Mixologist Bryan Galligos plays with fire to char rosemary and turns a Martini glass over it to capture the herby essence. The torched sprig mediates apple brandy’s sweetness, cider’s tartness and basil’s fragrance in this cocktail.
At Naka, Seattle’s only kaiseki eatery, Dustin Haarstad (previously of Canon) pays homage to the restaurant’s Japanese menu with this riff on an Old Fashioned , made with Jim Beam bonded bourbon infused with A5-grade Japanese wagyu beef fat. Combined with house-made pecan syrup and black walnut bitters, this cocktail then gets smoked with fresh cherry wood chips to bring out hints of roasted nuts.
For his creation, Raymond Tremblay cold-smokes maple syrup for 15 minutes with apple wood chips, then adds Angel’s Envy bourbon and smoked sea salt. Cold-brew iced coffee brings in dark fruit notes, as well as caffeine to keep revelers going all night.
Mixologist Stephanie Southerland is debuting a series of cocktails that are smoked with autumn and wintry scents. Catoctin Creek Roundstone rye whiskey and Grand Mariner meet smoked cinnamon sticks and walnut bitters for an unmistakably wintry feel in this aptly named drink.
Craig Schoettler sets bourbon-barrel wood alit and captures its smoke in a glass before pouring a smooth concoction of Pyrat XO reserve rum, Tempus Fugit Gran Classico bitter apéritif liqueur, oloroso sherry and orange bitters.
For this cocktail, bartenders flip a highball glass coated with TX whiskey atop a smoldering maple plank, capturing the essence of the maple. Married with sweet vermouth and bitters, this warm drink might be a liquid interpretation of a cuddle.
7. The Number 2 (KANU Lounge, Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, N.Y.)
Zachary Blair smokes cinnamon sticks and adds Kirk and Sweeney 12-year-old rum, maple syrup, sage, and orange, grapefruit and lime juices to create a perfect combination of hearty and refreshing. “The first sip will introduce bright citrus and earthy sage notes,” says Blair. “It brings to mind the smell of fresh fallen leaves and evening campfires.”
The gastropub is serving this harvest-inspired drink made with sweet potato purée and amaro and hits the same smoky notes as the meat-heavy menu, thanks to the restaurant’s ice. The pub makes good use of its barbecue by smoking water, then freezing it as two-inch-by-two-inch ice cubes to be used in its many drinks, such as the Smoked Negroni that mixes Aperol and Illinois’ own FEW gin.
9. Smoked Fig (AVANT, Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego)
AVANT bar and restaurant uses herbs from Rancho Bernardo Inn’s own garden to create this cocktail, consisting of Maker’s Mark bourbon, fig and rosemary syrup, topped with charred (and still smoking) rosemary twigs.