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Smoking a cocktail was once a trick limited to fancy bars with mixologists who like to put on a show. You can still find smoked cocktails in these establishments, but nowadays it’s also something you can do at home.
Cocktail smokers can be easy and affordable or complicated and expensive, but the basic idea behind them is simple. You put some kind of combustible wood chip or sawdust into the device, light it, and allow the smoke to infuse your drink, usually after putting it into a box or underneath a dome. You can smoke a simple glass of whiskey, a classic drink like an Old Fashioned, or any other cocktail you can think of. The resulting flavor depends on what type of wood you’re burning, but it adds layers of savory smokiness to your drink.
There are many different types of smoking tools and kits available to purchase. Here are some of the best cocktail smokers we recommend.
Best Overall: Breville
This smoking gun from Breville is the best overall option. At around $100, it’s not the cheapest, but it makes up for it with its reliability and efficiency. This smoker comes with wood chips and some replacement screens, the design is intuitive, and the results are always dependable. You can use this device to smoke any cocktail you can think of, and it’s easy to store and clean once you are finished using it.
Best Budget: TMKEFFC Portable Smoking Gun
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, check out this smoking gun from TMKEFFC. This gun is small and battery-operated but does the job well, and for far cheaper than many other options out there. Add your wood chips or whatever material you are using to the top of the device, light it, and allow the smoke to travel down the hose to infuse your cocktail with rich campfire flavors.
Best Box: Crafthouse by Fortessa Cocktail Smoking Box
This smoking box and gun kit is a great way to show off your bartending skills in style. The box is made from a glass and stainless steel frame with a black walnut interior, allowing your drink to be on display as the star of the show.
The gun easily attaches to the box to fill the inside with smoke, adding layers of intensity to your cocktail. When you are done, simply open the door latch to remove your drink, and you are ready to sip and enjoy.
Related: The Best Cocktail Glasses
Best Kit: Mitbak Cocktail Smoker
This cocktail smoking kit from Mitbak has everything you need to whip up some excellent smoked cocktails, including a smoke infuser, wood chips, dome lid and recharger cable. It’s easy to use and effective, and while it ranks up there with some of the other options in terms of cost, it’s worth it. With this kit, you don’t need to buy any supplemental equipment—it all comes as part of a set, and the quality of the materials is very good.
Best for Beginners: Smoke Boards Smoked Cocktail Kit
If you have not tried smoking a cocktail before, you’ll probably want to find a kit that has everything included, and preferably one that doesn’t have a steep learning curve. Smoke Boards is a good option for the novice home bartender because the kit contains everything you’ll need: a butane torch, a mason jar to cover the drink, a board to set it on, several different types of wood chips, and a carrying case in which to pack it all up if you want to take the kit on the go. This is really one of the easiest smoking kits to practice with and learn how to create your own smoked cocktail concoctions.
Related: The Best Ice Makers
Best Versatile: Super Aladin Professional Food Smoker
This incredibly flexible option for smoking both food and drinks is the top choice of many industry professionals. This device has a larger combustion tank than others, which means you have more leeway in choosing what you’d like to add to create your smoke, from chips to sawdust (including Jack Daniel’s-infused sawdust, which you can purchase from the brand).
It’s compatible with several different smoking domes made by Super Aladin, and the device is made from metal, which makes it easy to clean between uses.
Related: The Best Cocktail Books
Best for Home Chefs: JetChill Flavour Blaster
Looking for something fancy? “I have personally used the Flavour Blaster gun,” says Kim Hunter, founder of Potent Pours. “There are multiple flavors to choose from. Not only will you get a smoked cocktail, but you will get the cutest edible bubble for your cocktail!”
The gun creates a vapor bubble over the top of any cocktail that is full of flavor, a neat trick, and a great option for home chefs who want to add to the palate of their drinks.
Best Compact: Oklahoma Joe’s Cocktail Smoking Box
This new smoking box comes from smoker and grill company Oklahoma Joe’s. It’s made from American white oak, the same type of wood that is used to make bourbon barrels. It’s compact but big enough for one drink, so you can bring it with you on the go (note that you’ll need a lighter and wood chips as well).
Simply place your glass inside, fill the tray at the bottom with wood chips, and light. When you’ve reached your desired level of smoke, close the sliding door, pop open the top, and enjoy a smoky Old Fashioned or whatever type of drink you decide to make.
Related: The Best Flasks
Breville makes the best cocktail smoker on the market right now. While it isn’t the cheapest, it offers the highest quality and efficiency. It’s not too big, it’s easy to use, and the device is a cinch to clean. Both experienced mixologists and novice home bartenders will find this cocktail smoker incredibly useful for crafting creative drinks (view at Amazon).
How safe is a cocktail smoker?
Safety is not an issue with cocktail smokers, as long as you follow the directions. Make sure you put out any smoldering wood chips before discarding them, and light the smoker in a well-ventilated environment.
How do you clean and care for it?
You should periodically clean the outside of any smoking device. Every now and then, you may have to replace the screen that you put the chips on to burn. Some devices come with replacement screens; you will have to order extra ones for others.
How long will it last?
A good cocktail smoker should last a few years if you clean and care for it properly.
How often do you need to replace wood chips?
This depends on how often you use your smoker, but a bag of wood chips should last you a few months at the very minimum, because you’ll only use a little bit at a time.
What to Look for in a Cocktail Smoker
Some cocktail smokers are packaged as a kit with all accessories included, while others might just be the device itself. You can order materials like wood chips, a board or a dome separately if need be. But first, be sure to check out what’s included with your cocktail smoking kit so you can have everything that you need on hand when you are ready to start making some smoky drinks.
Many cocktail smokers are relatively small handheld devices that are easy to store and even transport if you are taking your drink-making experience on the road. But they do come in a variety of other sizes, and some require a lot more equipment and accessories than others. If you will be working mostly in your own home, this might not be an issue, but it’s good to consider before purchasing.
Most cocktail smokers that have their own ignition system are rechargeable these days. Some have a USB cable port, others can be plugged into a wall outlet, and the cheapest often require just batteries for power.
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Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries for many years. His work has appeared in many different national outlets, covering trends, new releases, and the stories and innovators behind the spirits. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac and all things distilled.
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