The Smoking Cocktail

After enjoying the Courting Rachel at Mistral Kitchen on our recent trip to Seattle, we couldn’t resist trying to make our own smoked cocktails. As soon as the cocktail came to our table, Robert was imagining ways to duplicate it at home. I found the recipe online and some suggestions about how to create and capture the smoke, mostly fairly expensive handheld smokers. Fortunately Robert had already come up with another way. After reading about a method of smoking fish in a cast iron skillet, he threw together a makeshift smoke collector, which he will be detailing in another post, and I mixed up a cocktail to smoke.

As the Courting Rachel is based on a modified Old Fashioned, I tried to work with some similar flavors. I used Jim Beam Rye, Cherry Heering and Angostura Bitters. I also added some orange blossom water on my second attempt, which improved it a bit. I didn’t add any sugar or syrup which probably would be a good addition for next time (the Courting Rachel uses Rye syrup). For our first attempt we used jasmine tea for the smoke, because we had some on hand, and had recently used it successfully to pan smoke some salmon in the cast iron skillet. I mixed the drink while the smoke was collecting, then poured it into the jar, through the smoke. We allowed it to sit with the smoke for a few minutes (I’m not sure whether this was actually necessary or not, it seemed to pick up the smoky flavor quickly and easily) then we poured it from the jar into a glass with some large ice cubes.

Although we were able to make it all work with the jasmine smoke, we agreed that its flavor did not work very well with the drink. The next night we bought some hickory chips and made some minor improvements to the smoke catcher and the drink (more ice for the smoker and orange blossom water for the drink). It turned out much better. The only downside is how much smoke it creates in the kitchen. Ventilation is definitely an important thing to remember!

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