Burning Bourbon : Four Smoked Cocktail Recipes That Will Have You Playing With Fire

Photos and Story – Caroline Paulus
Recipes – Jason Bartlett

While bitters may be the most popular way to add flavor to a cocktail without taking up space, smokers are coming on the scene to add another layer of intensity to your favorite drinks. Smoke and Bourbon have been together since the barrel – those charred oak containers add a hint of the hazy taste we’re craving on a day like today.  We teamed up with Jason Bartlett of Lexington’s Bluegrass Tavern to smoke a few favorites, and invent a few more along the way.

1. Willie Nelson Smoked Old Fashioned

2 oz Woodford Reserve
1 Sugar Cube
5 Dashes Spicy Cherry Bitters
5 Dashes Blood Orange Bitters
5 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters

Muddle sugar cube with bitters. Fill glass with ice and top with Woodford Reserve. Place the glass in the smoker with smoking cherrywood and infuse to taste. Garnish with burnt orange peel.

2. Wake n’ Bake

1.5 oz Bulleit Rye
6 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters
Drizzle Maple Syrup
Fill with Cold Brew Coffee
Cinnamon Sticks

Light cinnamon stick on fire and place lit end under glass. Let glass fill with smoke, then add ice and all ingredients. Shake, then return to glass and top with a smoking cinnamon stick.

3. I Love You, Mary Jane (Bourbon Bloody Mary)

2 oz Maker’s Mark Cask Strength
1/2 oz Bloody Flavoring*
5 Dashes Celery Bitters
Top with Smoked Tomato Juice
Rim with Smoked Paprika and Sea Salt

*Mix equal parts Worchester Sauce, apple cider vinegar, olive juice, and lime juice.

Rim Martini Glass and set aside. Use hickory wood to smoke tomato juice, then fill the shaker with ingredients and strain into glass.

4. Up in Smoke

1 oz Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
1 oz Copper and Kings Butchertown Brandy
1 oz Cherry Herring
Top w/ OJ
Garnish with Rosemary

Light one sprig Rosemary and place under glass, letting it fill with smoke. In a shaker, mix Bourbon, brandy, and cherry herring, then strain into smoked glass filled with ice. Top with orange juice and garnish with rosemary.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.