Smoked Old Fashioned

A cocktail with atmosphere, where each sip tells a story.

Smoked Old Fashioned

During my time in New York City, I could count on one hand how many Old Fashioned cocktails I drank. The memory of each one is vivid. And the dimly lit bars I enjoyed them in are now only that… memories. Places that no longer exist in an ever changing metropolis. Some years later, across the country in Los Angeles, I had my favorite and most memorable version of that drink… the Smoked Old Fashioned.

My first year in the City of Angels was pretty dreamlike. I was starstruck by the palm trees, the Pacific Ocean, the perfect weather, Arnold Schwarzenegger politely screaming “EXCUSE MEEEE” as he zipped past on a bicycle… One evening, I braved the infamous rush hour traffic and headed into Santa Monica. My destination was bar whose name I can’t remember. What was memorable though, was the Smoked Old Fashioned I had.

The bar was sleek, low-lit and chill, evoking memories of Manhattan and putting me in the mood for a bourbon-based cocktail. I asked the barkeep for an Old Fashioned and turned my attention to the big picture windows that looked out toward the ocean and horizon beyond. The sky was a bright, deep red as day turned to night. The lights from the Wonder Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier were just turning on down the beach.

My drink came, and it was smoking. Literally. The bartender just smiled and nodded. As I brought the glass toward my mouth, the white haze had begun to dissipate, but I smelled a sweet cherry, woodsy scent that sat right at home with the fine bourbon and bitters that rolled past my lips.

I missed how the bartender made this delicious cocktail that evening, so we’re going to learn how to do that today. If you feel like having a simpler version, check out Twist and Toast’s recipe for a Classic Old Fashioned right here.

“Where there’s smoke…”

Since this drink calls for smoke, I highly recommend getting a cocktail smoker kit. There’s a wide selection at various prices. Like the old saying goes, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and having a professional kit that’s specifically designed to make things like a Smoked Old Fashioned greatly reduces the risk of burning down your home bar. If that happened, where would your band play on a Saturday night?

What is the best spirit to use in a Smoked Old Fashioned?

Another age-old question for cocktail enthusiasts is what is the best alcohol to use when having an Old Fashioned. Especially a Smoked Old Fashioned, as the burning wood will affect whatever you use a little differently. A good bourbon will make your drink a smooth and sweet affair, which is nicely enhanced by the smoke. A rye whiskey is equally good, and is spicier and bolder, with the smoke giving it an extra kick. Have one with each, why not? I like them both.

Smoked Old Fashioned
Servings 1
10 minutes


  • 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • Orange peel for garnish
  • Cocktail cherry for garnish
  • 1 large ice cube preferably clear ice
  • Smoking gun with wood chips applewood or hickory work well


  • Begin by placing the sugar cube in a lowball glass. Add the Angostura bitter dashes, the cocktail cherry and a twist of orange peel into the glass.
  • Use your smoking gun loaded with wood chips to fill the glass with a rich, aromatic smoke. Cover to trap the smoke, and let it infuse for about 2 minutes. Lift the cover and allow the smoke to dissipate, then repeat the process once more.
    Smoked Old Fashioned
  • Remove the orange peel and cherry. Pour in the water and muddle the sugar cube until it’s mostly dissolved.
    Smoked Old Fashioned
  • Pour in the bourbon. Give it a gentle swirl to combine and add a large ice cube to the glass.
    Smoked Old Fashioned
  • Take the orange peel and give it a good squeeze over the glass to release the oils, then rub it around the rim before dropping into the glass along with a cocktail cherry. You can fill the glass with smoke once more for a final touch.


Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 5g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.01mg
Smoked Old Fashioned

FAQs & Tips

Smoked Old Fashioned

Smoked Old Fashioned Variations

A Smoked Old Fashioned is one of the most coolest looking and stylish versions of the legendary cocktail. If this is one of your favorite drinks, be sure to give the other Old Fashioned recipes we have at Twist and Toast a try:

  • Tequila Old Fashioned – Like the name implies, this cocktail replaces the rye or bourbon with tequila for a spicy affair.
  • Apple Cider Old Fashioned – Also called the Fall Old Fashioned, this spiced cocktail will keep you warm when the autumn air turns brisk.
  • Brandy Old Fashioned – Make your drink a little fancier than usual by adding brandy to the mix.
  • Irish Old Fashioned – Get yourself a bottle of good Irish whiskey and you’re on your way to mixing up this simple variation.

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