During our recent trip to Seattle we had dinner at Mistral Kitchen, which was amazing but is covered in another post, so I won’t say too much more. While there, the table next to ours was delivered a cocktail served in a decanter filled with smoke. Renata immediately wanted one, while I immediately started thinking of how they got the smoke in there. Turns out they use one of these, but having no idea they existed at the time, I started thinking something along the lines of a mad doctor’s chemistry set, complete with glass tubes and bubbling beakers.
This fascination could have ended there, but as luck would have it, the next day I spotted a book about cooking in cast iron, something else I am always interested in, and this book had a way to smoke fish in a cast iron skillet (which is also great and I will cover in more detail later on). Armed with this knowledge, I began to conceive of a way to get the smoke from a cast iron pan into a drink so that Renata and I could make these smoked drinks at home.
Overly simplified, first we soaked hickory wood chips in water for about an hour and a half, then put them in a tinfoil lined cast iron pan. From there I used more tinfoil to guide the smoke toward a funnel, attached to a short length of drip line hose, and aimed that at a jar (because we don’t actually own a decanter) tied it all to the microwave to hold it up, and covered as much of the contraption as I could in ice, to cool the smoke and keep it from floating away. Then I turned on the stove and waited for the wood to begin burning. The result was quite successful, and we got a pretty passable smoked cocktail and a kitchen filled with smoke. There are still some bugs to work out, how to keep the plastic hose from absorbing odd smoke flavors and spitting them into your drink top among them, but overall that is how to make a DIY cocktail smoker.