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Smoked Cocktails for the Holidays: Barbecue You Can Drink



Excerpted from Steven Raichlens Project Smoke (Workman Publishing, 2016).

Somewhere between the Penicillina libation featuring ginger, honey, lemon, and Scotch, concocted by bartender Sam Ross at Milk & Honey in New York City in 2005and the bourbon-based Dragons Breath I drank from a mesquite smoke-filled brandy snifter at a cocktail lounge in Scottsdale, the American cocktail got smoked. Literallyusing an ingenious handheld smoker, or indirectly, by adding a smoke-scented spirit like Mexicos mezcal (distilled from smoke-roasted agave hearts) or single-male Scotch whisky (made with peat-smoked barley). Wood or other smoked ingredients can turn a cocktail youve sipped a hundred times into a beverage that will fill you with wonder. And just in time for the holidays, when a bit of magic is always expected.

Smoked cocktails are turning up at cutting-edge bars from Brooklyn to Berkeley. (Jean Georges Steakhouse in Las Vegas even offers a tableside Smoked Whiskey Cart where guests can select the smoked wood, such as hickory or apple, to pair with Scotch, Japanese whiskey, or bourbon.) Smoke adds a complexity and depth that can make a decent cocktail great and a great cocktail a masterpiece. And you can make them at home. There are several ways to infuse a cocktail with smoky flavors.

How to Infuse a Cocktail with Smoke:

1. Handheld Smoker

The Smoking Gun by Polyscience looks like a pistol. Place fine hardwood sawdust in the smoke chamber, then switch on the battery-powered fa and light the sawdust with a match or lighter. The smoke flows through a rubber tube into your glass, cocktail shaker, or pitcher where it flavors the drink. Cover the cocktail with plastic wrap and fill with smoke. Repeat as necessary. (Just recently, the company introduced the Smoking Gun Pro Cloche. It looks like an elegant glass dessert cover, but has an unobtrusive valve on the side to accommodate the smoking hose. You place the cocktail you want smoked under the cloche for a dramatic presentation.)

2. Conventional Smoker

Pour fruit puree (fresh pineapple works great) into an aluminum foil pan to a depth of 1/4 inch. Place in a larger pan filled with ice. Cold-smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or hot-smoke for 30 to 40 minutes. You can also smoke vermouth or wine this way. Refrigerate until using, but try to use within a few hours of smoking. (Note: You can freeze smoked fruit puree in ice cube trays for future use.)

Other Ways to Infuse Smoke Into a Cocktail

1. Use a smoked spirit.

Scotch whisky has a distinctive smoke flavor, the result of being distilled from smoked barley. Rauchbier (German-style smoked beer) is also brewed from smoked barley. Mezcal is made from fire-roasted agave hearts. All three make killer smoked cocktails.

2. Rinse the inside of a glass (or pitcher) with smoke.

Fill a chilled inverted bar glass with smoke. Place a coaster over the mouth of the glass (now upside down) to cover it tightly. Now turn the glass upright again and let stand covered for 1 minute. Pour in the cocktail and serve while the glass is still smoking.

Smoked cocktails

3. Infuse smoke directly into the cocktail.

Mix your drink in a bar glass or shaker. Cover the top with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open. Load your handheld smoker with hardwood sawdust following the manufacturers instructions. Insert the smoking hose into the glass above the drink. Fire up the smoker to fill the glass with smoke. Withdraw the tube and cover the open edge with the plastic wrap. Repeat as needed.

4. Smoke a large batch of cocktails at once.

Mix your ingredients in a large glass pitcher or bowl and cover with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open. Insert the handheld smoker hose above the mixture and fill the pitcher with smoke. Remove the hose and tightly cover the top of the pitcher. Let stand for 4 minutes, then stir and repeat as needed.

5. Smoke the garnish.

Use a smoky garnish like a crisp strip of bacon, a fire-roasted wedge of orange, or home-smoked beef jerky.

Bacon Bourbon

6. Smoke the water for the ice cubes.

Place water in an aluminum foil pan. Cold-smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or hot-smoke for 20 to 30 minutes over low heat. Freeze the water in ice cube trays.

Here are some of my favorite smoked cocktails to get you started. For more recipes and techniques, see my book Project Fire.

Steven Raichlens Best Smoked Cocktails:

Related Products:

About the Book

Project Smoke by Steven RaichlenProject Smoke

Project Smoke is the How to Grill of smoking, both a complete step-by-step guide to mastering the gear and techniques and a collection of 100 explosively flavorful recipes for smoking every kind of food, from starters to desserts.

Read More

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Cooking Tips

Grilling For A Great Cause



Grilling For A Great Cause

What does it take to grill the perfect steak? According to a new cookbook, the answer is a few good Marines.

Weber's new grilling cookbook, “Command of the Grill-A Salute to Steak,™” features grilled steak recipes by active, reserve, and famous former U.S. Marines. One hundred percent of the sales from the $10 cookbook will go to four charities that directly benefit U.S. Marines wounded or killed in the line of duty and their families: Fisher House™, Wounded Warrior Project, Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation.

To purchase a copy of “Command of the Grill-A Salute to Steak” and directly help Marines, visit

“We hope to raise at least a half-million dollars from this effort,” said Mike Kempster Sr., executive vice president, Weber-Stephen Products Co. “We want to show our support for brave men and women who have been separated from their families, wounded in the line of duty, and need help coping with new challenges when they come home.”

The book features recipes from “honorable mentions” and winners at grilling competitions held at Marine installations across the country, including Capt. Eric Peter Dominijanni's Disco's Hot and Tangy New York Strip Steaks. In addition to the winners' background information and anecdotes, the “Command of the Grill” cookbook also features grilling advice and tips; profiles of the four charities; and recipes from 10 famous former Marines, including Ed McMahon and Lee Trevino.

Disco's Hot and Tangy New York Strip Steaks

from Captain Eric “Disco” Dominijanni, 2D Assault Amphibian Battalion, MCB Camp Lejeune


1 can (12 ounces) cola

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup garlic teriyaki sauce

1 habanero chile pepper, finely chopped with seeds

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 tablespoon freshly ground ginger

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

4 New York strip steaks, about 8 ounces each and 3/4 inch thick

Extra virgin olive oil

1. In a medium bowl mix the marinade ingredients. Place the steaks in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press out the air, seal the bag, and turn several times to coat the meat. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

2. Let the steaks stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling. Remove the steaks from the bag and reserve the marinade. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil for about 10 seconds. Set aside about half of the marinade for basting the steaks. For the remaining marinade in the saucepan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until it has reduced to the consistency of a dipping sauce, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

3. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Lightly coat the steaks with oil.

4. With the lid closed, grill the steaks over direct high heat (500ºF to 550ºF) until cooked to desired doneness, 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare, turning once and basting with a little of the boiled marinade. (If flare-ups occur, move the steaks temporarily over indirect high heat.) Remove from the grill and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm with the dipping sauce on the side.

Makes 4 servings

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Cooking Tips

Grilled Albacore Tuna Steak Recipes



Grilled Albacore Tuna Steak Recipes

Grilled Three-Potato Saladn Recipe
Source: Flickr

Grilled albacore tuna steak recipes add flair to your dinner table. Asians have a way of spicing up any fish dish with their own wasabi powder. This is a Japanese horseradish and many chefs today use this spice to bring a very unique flavor to tuna steak.
Here is just once example of grilled albacore tuna steak recipes that use the spice above. You will need to have the following ingredients to prepare this delectable meal; tuna steaks, ½ cup of teriyaki marinade, 4 ounces of butter or margarine, 1 tablespoon of wasabi powder, 2 chopped green onions, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil, salt and pepper. First you will need to marinate your tuna steaks in the teriyaki marinade. You should place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat the entire steak in the marinade. Marinate for at least one hour in a covered dish in the refrigerator. You can marinate overnight if you prefer. When you ready to cook your meal, mix together the wasabi powder and green onions in a bowl and set aside. Get your grill ready; lightly brush your tuna with the oil and season with the salt and pepper. You can use the remaining marinade to baste your tuna steaks while they are grilling. Grill your tuna steaks to desired doneness and serve with the butter.
Instead of using the wasabi butter recipe for your grilled albacore tuna steak recipes you can make your own unique sauce to accompany your delicious meal. You may enjoy a spicier sauce, if so you should try this one. You will need 1/3 cup of your favorite steak sauce, ¼ cup of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of hot sauce or pepper sauce, ¼ cup butter of margarine melted, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, salt, and ½ teaspoon of curry powder. Mix all of these ingredients together and use as a marinade. Also baste your tuna steaks while grilling.

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Cooking Tips

Famous Names In Barbecue




Famous Names In Barbecue

Source: Flickr

They are grilling celebrities in their own right.
You've seen them on TV and you see their cookbooks lined along the shelves of your local bookstore. They may have different backgrounds and a variety of cooking styles, but just like you, they all share the same passion and that is for grilling and barbecues.

Bobby Flay is one of the most successful chefs who specialize in grilling and barbecues. In 1991, Flay's restaurant, Mesa Grill opened and was dubbed as the Best Restaurant by New York magazine. In 1993, Chef Bobby Flay was voted as James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year. It was during the same year that his other restaurant, Bolo opened. Bobby Flay's love affair with the grill can be best experienced through his TV shows, BBQ with Bobby Flay, Hot Off the Grill with Bobby Flay, and Boy Meets Grills, as well as his cookbooks Boy Meets Grill, and its sequel, Boy Gets Grill.

Larry Gerber a.k.a. The BarBeQue Man. Dubbed as the BarBeQue Man or simply Que, Larry Gerber has become the face and voice of virtually anything related to grilling and barbecues. His company, Barbeque Man, does endorsements and promotions of various barbecue-related products, events, and issues. Apart from being a personal chef, he also writes for different national culinary publications, hosts a TV show called Culinary Adventures, and can be heard on many radio stations in the upper Midwest as he talks about the fine art of barbecuing and grilling.

Mike Mills is often referred to as The Legend in the world of grilling and barbecuing because of his family's treasured barbecue sauce. Between 1989 and 1994, his team, the Apple City BBQ team won hundreds of awards and accolades in various barbecue competitions. They even hold the record for being four-time World Champions and for being three-time Grand World Champions, which no other team has ever bee able to beat so far. Today, Mike Mills owns 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro, IL and has published a book entitled, Peace, Love, and Barbecue: Recipes, Secrets, Tall Tales, and Outright Lies from the Legends of Barbecue in 2005.

Steve Raichlen is a journalist, cooking teacher, award winning author and PBS TV host. His best-selling Barbecue Bible cookbook series (more than 2 million copies in print) and Barbecue University TV show on PBS has changed the American barbecue for the better. In August, 2003, Raichlen defeated Iron Chef Roksbura Michiba in a bbq battle on Japanese television. Some other fmouus quotes about Raichlen include: Oprah called him the “Gladiator of Grilling” and “Howard Stern hailed him as the “Michael Jordan of Barbecue.”

Now, aren't you just inspired to get out there and cook the most amazing barbecue recipes yourself? Not a problem – get your grill ready, hit your local meat shop or grocery store and logon to InsaneChicken’s BBQ Sauce Catalog and get their delicious recipes ranging from barbecue to vegetarian recipes. And of course, check out their wide range of sauces and marinades to further make your grilling dishes insanely bold and daring.

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