How to Make a Smoked Old Fashioned By John Hicks

There’s a reason you don’t walk into a pub and see someone having a glass of milk, or a slice of toast. Bourbon is a tasty way to stir conversation and get to know people. “On the Rocks” is our new segment about exploring the world of bourbon and other fine spirits with you. Whether you’re an expert or newly entering the wonderfully complex world of spirits, you’ll enjoy as we share personal reflections around our favorite sips. We invite you to connect with each other over a glass of the good stuff. This month, John Hicks, Subsidiary Regional Manager in Florida, shares his twist on the classic drink.

A few years ago, I came across the concept of a “Smoked” Old Fashioned at an upscale restaurant in the Orlando area. Everyone has heard of an Old Fashioned, it’s probably the most popular mixed Bourbon drink, but the Smoked Old Fashioned is certainly an interesting twist on this classic. I decided to give it a try and I was not disappointed! The presentation at the restaurant grabbed everyone’s attention. It is not too often that a server or bartender lights something on fire right in front of you and then the smoke aroma adds to the whole experience. The drink was amazing and expensive! I had to learn how to do this at home, otherwise, I would be paying a fortune at this restaurant for these drinks. I was able to obtain the “secret” ingredient and will share this with you.

The process of creating a Smoked Old Fashioned can be done in many ways. You can actually buy the smoke kits online which comes with the whole setup. I have my own setup:

The Ice

You need to buy the large ice molds for the perfect Old Fashioned. This allows for the potion to cool, but not get watered down which allows you to take your time with your new favorite drink.

The Potion

Make the potion first before you start with the smoke. That way you are not messing around with the mix while your smoked glass is waiting. If you use a kit, you will need to make the potion first anyways. My potion mix:

  • 3oz. Basil Hayden
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup
  • 4-5 dashes of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters (secret ingredient)! Most Old Fashioned drinks are made with Orange Bitters.

The Smoke

You need small wood chips, the smaller the better as you want to be able to burn them. Set them on a small piece of 2×4 or other non-flammable surface. At this point you need to take a Butane Kitchen Torch to smoke the wood chips, a candle lighter will not work!!! Take your empty glass and place it over the burning wood chips. Let the smoke fill the glass for a few moments.

Safety tip: Buy a smoke kit so the chips are contained

The Finish

Take the smoke-filled glass and turn it over, add the ice first, then add the potion. Finish it off with the garnishes which include a small orange peel and a Luxardo cherry, not the red cherry, we are not making an ice cream sundae! Then, enjoy your Smoked Old Fashioned!