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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 result depends on what type of wood you’re burning and for how long, but it can often add layers of savory flavors to your drink of choice.
Because there are so many different types of smoking tools and kits available right now, we're here to help break down the best in the market. We've carefully home-tested the top brands and have selected our favorites. Some of the attributes in which we rated each item include the ease of use, the quality of materials, the effectiveness and result of the smoker, and the overall value.
Backed by in-depth testing, we chose the Breville Smoking Gun as our top pick. It was one of the easiest smokers to use, included everything you need to smoke a cocktail instantly, and consistently delivered.
For a closer look at all of our favorites and why we chose them, read on.
Best Overall: Breville Smoking Gun Food Smoker
No butane or propellant
Consistent smoke levels
Includes several types of wood chips
Not ideal for batching cocktails
Very small amount of wood chips
If you’re looking for a versatile smoker, 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.
During testing, we found this device to be well made. It was packaged neatly, the instructions were clear, and all of the parts were clearly laid out, well-labeled, and neatly packaged. It had everything to get started—including batteries—and requires a pretty minimal setup. During testing, this was incredibly simple to use—once we attached the tube and started up the smoker, we were smoking a cocktail within minutes of the unit arriving.
While we found this smoker to be one of the easiest to use, it did take some trial and error to receive a smooth stream of smoke. The first few times we tested, the smoke was a bit tough to control. But, once we got the hang of it, it was a smooth smolder.
This smoker came with wood chips and some replacement screens, and because the design is intuitive, we found the results to be dependable. You can use this device to smoke any cocktail you can think of (plus snacks, fish, meat, and other foods), and it’s easy to store and clean once you are finished using it. Plus, the battery-powered unit doesn’t require butane or any other propellant—just a match or lighter.
"Overall, I would highly recommend this smoker. I like that you can use this with cocktails, but it's also easily adaptable to all sorts of culinary options. A great bang for your buck." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Fuel Source: Match/lighter | Power Source: Batteries | Portability: Easily portable
Best Budget: TMKEFFC Portable Smoking Gun
Great bang for your buck/entry-level option
Includes everything you need
Only usable with cocktails
Not as quality as other units
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, cover the lid of the glass, and allow the smoke to travel down the hose to infuse your cocktail with rich campfire flavors. This smoker works by placing the smoking tube directly in the glass, so it requires minimal counter space.
In our tests, we found this budget option came packaged in a budget manner—just cardboard and brown paper wrapping each part, and the woodchips came in a small plastic bag. The unit also didn't arrive with batteries—those will have to be purchased separately. We also found the instructions to be challenging during testing—they felt translated haphazardly from another language—but once we sifted through some YouTube and Instagram tutorials, we found this unit to be quite easy to use. It was similar to the Breville in how you're fueling the smoke via a match.
Unlike the Breville model, we liked that there was a small plate with a fan to place over the drink. With the Breville unit, the best form of smoking is to flip the glass over and smoke prior to making the drink (or, place the tube in your shaker tin). We found we could smoke a complete cocktail with this unit, thanks to the small plate that fits over a glass.
"The quality of the smoking was better than I expected, given the low price point." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Fuel Source: Match/lighter | Power Source: Batteries | Portability: Easily portable
Best Showstopper: Crafthouse by Fortessa Cocktail Smoking Cloche
Large enough for several cocktails
Spacious enough for plates/food
Too large to transport
Takes up a lot of space
Tube kinks easily
This smoking gun and glass cloche kit is a great way to show off your bartending skills in style. The base is made from black walnut and the bell top is all glass, allowing your drink to be on display as the star of the show.
Our tester appreciated that there was a bit of pizzazz to this unit. If you’re one for making cocktails for guests, this adds a bit of showmanship to smoking cocktails. The larger cloche is spacious enough not just for Old Fashioned glasses (note that many units only fit a rocks glass), but coupes, Martini glasses, highball glasses, and other cocktail vessels.
This was the best-performing unit we tested. As soon as we flipped the switch it poured out smooth, consistent smoke. We found the gun easily attached to the box and filled the inside with smoke, adding layers of intensity to the cocktail. Once it was filled, we simply lifted the cloche to remove the drink and we were ready to sip and enjoy. The smoke was consistent, though because the bowl was so large it took quite a lot of smoke to impart any flavor. We liked that it was large enough to smoke multiple drinks at once, however.
"It's got that beautiful big bell cover, high-quality wood base, and all of the parts are neatly laid out. It's got serious showmanship. I would love this unit sitting on my home bar if I'm hosting a high-octane cocktail party." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Fuel Source: Match/lighter | Power Source: Batteries | Portability: Not portable
Related: The Best Cocktail Glasses
Best Kit: MITBAK Portable Handheld Cold Smoking Gun with Dome Lid and Woodchips
Easy to use
No learning curve
Charged via cable, not batteries
Includes everything you need
Cloche is not large enough for highballs/coupes
Not easily transportable
This cocktail smoking kit from Mitbak has everything you need to whip up some excellent smoked cocktails, including a smoke infuser, smoking gun, wood chips, dome lid and recharger cable.
While testing, we found the packaging to be incredibly thoughtful. Everything was carefully placed in specific spaces in Styrofoam, and it was very sturdy–we wouldn't worry about this breaking during shipping. We also liked that the box was sturdy enough to double as a place to store the smoker when not using it.
Our tester appreciated how easy this was to use. Simply place your glass (or plate—there’s plenty of space) under the dome, rev up the gun, light the wood, and within an instance, you’re getting big pillows of smoke.
It was easy to use and effective, and while this kit ranks up there with some of the other options in terms of cost, we consider it 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.
There’s almost no learning curve to using it, and the unit was adaptable for both cocktails and food.
"The design of this is smart. It has a few flaws—namely, the quality of chips and the size of the cloche—but it's a great place to start if you're looking to smoke cocktails at home." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Fuel Source: Match/lighter | Power Source: Charging cable | Portability: Not portable
Best Compact: Smoke Boards Smoked Cocktail Kit
Carrying case to bring it anywhere
No learning curve
Includes many types of wood chips
Butane dangerous to use
Butane sold separately
Can’t be used with food
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 (think: backyard barbecues). This is really one of the easiest smoking kits to practice with and learn how to create your own smoked cocktail concoctions.
Our tester appreciated that this kit can be packed in a bag and put away compactly when not in use. She found the butane torch difficult to use, but once she got the hang of it, it was efficient and reliable. Note that butane can be dangerous to use, so proceed with caution.
"The quality of woodchips is great. There are many different flavor options to pick from and plenty of woodchips—full jars of woodchips compared to some of the other smokers, that just offered an ounce of woodchip. Because of that, it was easy to impart a strong, bold, crisp smoke flavor. Pair this with quality bourbon." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Fuel Source: Butane | Power Source: Butane | Portability: Easily portable
Related: The Best Ice Makers
Best for Cocktails: Oklahoma Joe’s Cocktail Smoking Box
Great for the BBQer
Customizable levels of smoke
Does not include power source
Does not include wood chips
Only holds one drink at a time
This new smoking box comes from smoker and grill company Oklahoma Joe’s.
Our tester found this to be a sturdy unit, beautifully grained and stained (it's made with the same white oak used for whiskey and bourbon barrels) and carefully constructed. She appreciated the very smart design, from the fuel tray that slides out to the door to easily access your chips. 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).
While testing, our tester found it fairly difficult to light the chips—borrowed from another unit since they were not included. She tried with a butane torch, then with a match, and still had difficulty getting a consistent burn. She did like the appearance, and the fact that you're containing the smoke to the box rather than trying to smoke a glass.
Fuel Source: Match/lighter | Power Source: N/A | Portability: Easily
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).
Our Testing Process
All of the products featured in this list of cocktail smokers have been carefully chosen by our editors and writers. We then sent each of the products directly to the writer for at-home testing. After applying a comprehensive list of methodologies—rating each item through a number of steps, and ranking them on key attributes tailored to each category—the writer provided personal feedback and captured photos of the items in use.
Some of the attributes we looked for and rated each item on included how easy the smoker was to use, the quality of the materials, and how effective it was when smoking a cocktail. We also looked at the overall value of the unit and if the price reflected its level of productivity.
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.
Why Trust Liquor.com?
The items featured in this piece were all tested by Kate Dingwall, a seasoned beverage writer and sommelier who has spent the last five years writing about wine and spirits and the last decade as a working sommelier. Her work appears in a variety of national outlets, both print and digital.
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