Scorch & Soda

We turn the clocks back tonight (boo hoo!)

You know what that means my friends.

That’s right

It’s Officially Heartier Cocktail Season.

Not since a caramel fell into a bowl of salt have we seen a flavor sensation dominate like the “smoky” cocktail.  I’ve been experimenting here & there while slowly compiling this post over the summer but it wasn’t until I had my very first GIN martini the other night (I know, right? wonders never cease) accompanied by big fat smoked olives that I became a full fledged “Smoker”

OK, I know this photo would have been so much nicer if the glass wasn’t 1/2 empty and I hadn’t taken a big bite of the olive, but I just wasn’t anticipating how damn good it was going to be! (Hendricks gin btw) and you’re probably saying; can this possibly be the same Slim who loves roasted marshmallow martinis? I agree-it’s sheer madness.

Even I didn’t know I was this ambi-drinkerous.

So, at least for the month of November, I’m all about the “the fumes”

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to think of a way to capture smoke within an ice cube. I tried typing “Smoke in ice cubes ” into Google and got nothing but photos of the rapper “Ice Cube” smoking cigars, plus some rather inventive ways of smoking meth.

Do you think I’m going to get meth spam now??  I’m worried 🙁

Try putting a few of  these in your pipe;

A couple of tasty smokers at Rick Bayles’ “The Frontera Grill” Chicago

Los Angeles: The molecular-minded Bar Centro at the Bazaar by José Andrés.The Drink: Smoke on the Water ($18)What’s in It: Blackberries, atomized Islay Scotch, liquid nitrogen, and a flaming orange peel.

Miami: The new Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. The Drink: Smoked Pear ($8).
What’s in It: Woodford Reserve bourbon, pear liqueur, lemon juice, maple bitters, and smoked-pear purée. 1600 Lenox Ave.; 305/538-5220.

Boston: Clio, home to the city’s most extensive cocktail list. The Drink: The Hunter ($13).
What’s in It : Sage-infused white rum, Willet single-barrel rye, and apple cider, plus a cloud of burned oak and cinnamon. Smoked ice (smoked over liqueur-soaked wood chips) are used in the “Frank-)” cocktail, also at Clio

(info via Nicki Goldstein/Travel & Leisure magazine)

In Yountville, CA, Bottega serves up a smoky trifecta with smoked tequila, smoked jalapeños, rimmed with smoked salt.

“The Smoker’s Delight” at PX in Alexandria, Virginia uses strained water that has been steeped in 3 kinds of tobacco. ( Oh, sorry, but that sounds gross! )

Smoke Signals

Here I’ve found a recipe to “smoke” your own ice at home-but be careful kids!

Line heavy large pot with heavy-duty foil. Sprinkle wood chips over bottom of pot; cover. Turn exhaust fan on high. Heat pot over high heat until smoke begins to form inside pot. Fill 9 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch metal loaf pan with ice. Place in pot; cover tightly. Smoke ice until just melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Cover loaf pan tightly with plastic wrap; freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Using ice pick, cut ice block crosswise into 4 large smoked ice chunks. Wrap tightly in plastic and keep frozen.

Bring 1 cup water and sugar to boil in medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pecans; reduce heat to medium and simmer until syrup tastes like pecans, about 12 minutes. Strain; discard pecans. Cover and chill pecan syrup until cold, about 2 hours.

Place 5 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons Sherry, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons pecan syrup in cocktail shaker. Fill with plain ice cubes; cover and shake until cold. Divide mixture between 2 old-fashioned glasses. Repeat with remaining 5 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons Sherry, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons pecan syrup, and ice. Place 1 smoked ice chunk in each glass and serve.

(via Epicureous)

Mezcal and tobacco-infused syrup flavours the “Oaxacan Fizz” at FATHER’S OFFICE in LA (LOVE that name!)

“Smoke on The Water” at Bar Centro in The Bazaar, LA, literally smokes with a blast of liquid nitrogen and Islay Scotch.

Wouldn’t this make a good Christmas present?

Smoked salt via

For those smoked olives, you may

1) Marinate your olives for several hours in smoked olive oil


2) make your own smoked oil by gently heating and infusing olive oil with hickory smoke powder and fresh or dried herbs of your choice, then marinate olives.

3) Thoroughly soak a cedar plank (important), wrap olives in a tinfoil package, making several slits in the top and sides,  place on wet plank, cover and grill (smoking times will vary depending on temperature) You can find several recipes for smoking olives online.

4) or just buy them already smoked.

Lastly, if you’re not already totally smoked out,

An interesting article on smoked cocktails HERE

Thank you for smoking and don’t forget those clocks tonight!!


(First photo Artist Liza Ryan (2012) any uncredited photos via Tumblr or Google)


  1. I saw a thing on how liquid smoke is made the other day, it’s real smoke. You might try putting some in ice cubes.

  2. Wow, thank you for doing all that research for us. It was a rough job and you did admirably. I’m intrigued by the smoked olives and will probably buy mine already to go!!
    My clocks are set back and since it will start getting darker earlier, it will feel like cocktail time sooner in the day!

  3. S.P. If you’re still in NYC I think a place you should investigate is Booker & Dax. I CAN NOT believe you have just recently enjoyed your first Hendricks martini! Welcome to the club, we’ve been waiting for you. 🙂

    The smoke essence is new to me – and will search out those olives (I call them hors d’oeuvres) or try my own the next time the grill is hot. Thanks! Crafting a good cocktail is a hobby of mine. Cheers!

    • I’m no longer in NYC Linda but will put it on the list for next time. I love “Hendricks” gin second only to “Old Raj” but I’d never had it in a martini-I thought I only liked vodka martinis. I thought wrong. 🙂

  4. Since I live in the heart of Bourbon Country, we look forward to Fall for the smooth and smoky Bourbon drinks–but since I recently returned from Paris, I took a bottle to our new Town Branch Bourbon–not sweet and perfect for a fall, rainy afternoon–to my French friends and I returned with the Perfect Autumn and Winter drink–8 year aged Calvados. I want to find the Smoked Olive Oil, sounds heavenly.

  5. It’s 10:00 Sunday morning.
    It’s 9:00 Sunday morning and
    I’m already salivating over
    those smoked olives.
    Will suggest this to my
    grill-master when he returns
    from Breeder’s Cup!
    Our friends in
    Woodford County will
    have a good chuckle over
    Mr. Zimmerman’s “Kentucky!”
    On the other hand,
    they will surely give a southern nod
    to the Yardbird for their
    “Smoked Pear!”
    My grill-master always has planks & Reserve.
    I’ll pick up the olives, bitters & liqueur.
    The Porter’s will be stoked to
    get smoked!
    Thanks Slim!

  6. Intriguing….I was wondering if you wear Le Smoking jacket while drinking some of these concoctions??? Even though it’s well before noon, somehow your post has made me want to try one of these. Looking forward to some smokin’ posts this month, Slim!

  7. The pictures look so inviting but I’m afraid since I’m not so good in the kitchen even with food I wouldn’t be able to master these. However I certainly am looking forward to trying one out some time.

  8. “Even I didn’t know I was this ambi-drinkerous.” This was a great line – tho I must admit your readers might have guessed this trait was always there – if they have been following your posts, you have led us to many an interesting concoction – and we are grateful!
    I just paid $24, for a local smoked olive oil, whose contents was half of the one you are recomending – it is yummy drizzeled over a veggie/feta omlette – your oil recomendation is a much better deal.
    I never like the “Fall Back” bit – loosing the evening to darkness is dreary – may yours be bright!

  9. “Even I didn’t know I was this ambi-drinkerous.” Best. Line. Ever. Don’t know how you come up with all of THIS happiness (libations, great lines), but I am sooo glad you do!!

  10. And when you are ready for desert and find yourself in Cambridge MA (I dont know, maybe you are asked to speak to the harvard undergrads!) you MUST try T.W. Food for their… and I quote from their web page …SCOTCH AND CIGARS beignets with tobacco ice cream, macallan 12 scotch syrup, valrhona chocolate ganache
    Died and went to heaven in a smoky haze!

  11. Slim
    I love smoked foods so I know I’d love smoked olives…must try some of the recipes above.
    Sorry the time has changed but Orange County was 90 degrees today so what’s up with that for fall weather? 🙂

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