Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Bourbon Cocktails

Smoke Break

hand pours a small decanter of the Smoke Break cocktail into a rocks glass over one large ice cube

Birds & Bees

There are several ways to add smoky flavors to cocktails. Start with a base of smoky mezcal or peaty scotch, and you’re off to a good start. But if you really want to bring smoke to the party, try a smoking gun. These contraptions heat wood chips and provide a targeted stream of smoke directly into a glass or decanter where it can merge with the liquid components of your drink.

Los Angeles bartender Jake Larowe takes this route with the Smoke Break. He says he wanted to create a decadent Manhattan riff with a playful accent. That playfulness begins with the ingredients, which include bourbon, cream sherry, sweet vermouth and two types of bitters. But it’s the smoking gun that steals the show. Larowe smokes cherrywood chips, letting the rich smoke mingle with the cocktail in a sealed vessel before the contents are poured into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. The drink is fun, delicious and visually appealing.

The result reminds him of waiting tables in college and taking a quick cigarette break outside after the rush is over. “We wanted to create the cocktail that you look forward to after a long day at work,” he says.



  1. Using a smoking gun and the cherrywood chips, add smoke to a glass decanter, then cover the top of the decanter to capture the smoke.

  2. Add the bourbon, cream sherry, vermouth, both bitters and ice into a mixing glass, and stir until well-chilled.

  3. Strain the contents into the prepared decanter, then cap the decanter so the drink mingles with the smoke. Let sit until desired smokiness is reached.

  4. Pour into a rocks glass over one large ice cube.

  5. Serve with a tray of dark chocolate and dried black cherries on the side.