One of the most fun aspects of mixology to me is the never ending process of finding new ways to enhance cocktails. There’s a never ending well of ideas and possibilities to potentially take your evening sipper to the next level.
While smoked cocktails are hardly a new phenomenon, it’s definitely one of those things that can take a same-old same-old drink and turn it into something special.
Aside from that, you may just simply be the type who loves the smoky flavor profile! Some distilled spirits inherently have smoky flavor and make some pretty spectacular drinks (see our Mezcal Margarita recipe). Smoking your drinks can simply be a means to add flavors you love to your cocktails.
No matter what your reasons are, one thing is true; you need to have a quality cocktail smoking kit. We’ve put together a list of what we think are the best cocktail smokers available today to help get you pointed in the right direction.
A Quick Note on Cocktail Smoker Prices
Unfortunately, some cocktail smokers out there are pretty poorly made. While price isn’t purely an indicator of quality and value, our advice would be to stay away from anything under the $50 price point. It seems that below this price point the odds of a poorly made unit get much higher.
That’s not to say you have to go out a few hundred bucks to get ahold of a proper cocktail smoker. While some of the more expensive units are undoubtedly great in quality, you don’t have to go to the highest end of the price spectrum to find quality.
With all of that being said, we think the best cocktail smokers can be found in the $50 to $250 price range. Anything less is likely to be too low in quality to be worth it and anything above you won’t necessarily find the most bang for your buck.
Best Cocktail Smokers
The overall best cocktail smoker in our opinion is the Smoke Boards Smoked Cocktail Kit. They get it all right in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and price. The Smoke Boards set up allows for you to truly infuse smoke into your cocktail, as opposed to other products which simply top off your drink with smoke.
Aesthetically, you’ll be putting on a show with this kit as well. You light wood chips on a board with your smoke gun, capture the smoke in a jar, then pour your spirits inside the jar. From there, you swish your drink around and boom, your cocktail is smoke infused. The overall presentation factor and resulting flavors are nothing short of spectacular.
This kit comes with a torch, white oak smoke board, a classy looking mason jar, and three types of wood chips to flavor your drink (apple, pecan, and cherry). On top of that, a carrying case is included so you can take your cocktail smoker on the road.
The wood chip jars have enough chips inside to make over 300 cocktails, so this kit should last quite a while no matter how often you plan to use it.
Finally, the price point here is quite reasonable. At just under $100, it’s cheaper than many alternatives while still delivering outstanding smoked cocktails on a consistent basis.
The Crafthouse Glass Smoking Box is another excellent choice which also provides excellent presentation if you’re using it in front of guests. It only comes with 2 small jars of wood smoking chips, but it’s easy enough to get ahold of replacements after you’ve gone through those initial chips.
The box is framed with stainless steel and glass window panes which allow for you to see through to your cocktail as the smoking process happens in real time. A black walnut board lines the bottom of the box to add to the aesthetic appeal.
This smoker works with a hand held gun which smokes wood chips. The smoke is funneled into the glass box via tube, which fills the the box, cocktail inside, with smoke.
The box configuration does an incredible job of adding complexity and richness to your drink – it’s the sort of product you might see used with professional bartenders when you’re out on the town.
One nice thing about the Crafthouse Smoking Box is that you can easily use it to smoke foods in addition to cocktails. So if you were hoping to be able to use your kit for cheese, nuts, or other foods, this is a great choice.
One of the simplest, yet coolest cocktail smokers has got to be the Foghat Cocktail Smoking Kit. The mechanism is made of hand turned white oak and is designed to sit on top of your glass while it goes to work.
The Foghat could not be easier or more intuitive to use. It has two main pieces of wood, one that is almost funnel shaped with wire mesh which holds your wood chips. The other main piece of wood acts as a lid.
Simply place the funnel piece on top of your cocktail glass, add wood chips, ignite with a butane torch, then put the lid on top. That’s it! As far as operations go, that’s about as easy as it gets. Since the Foghat is so small, it’s quite easy to take on the go as well.
Another thing we love about the Foghat brand is that they have developed their own line of fuel that’s specifically designed for smoking cocktails. Wood chips are the main fuel ingredient, but they include herbs, spices, and teas in their blends to create exceptional and complex flavor profiles.
The Foghat itself is reasonably priced compared to the competition. Replacement fuel is also not very expensive and there are quite a few flavors to choose from, so you’ll have plenty to experiment with.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly kit, we’d suggest taking a look at the Gramercy Drink & Food Infuser as it’s at the lower price range and still delivers a quality experience.
To use this kit, you’ll need to have a cutting board or a plate handy, along with a bowl or glass dome. The kit is pretty bare bones and comes with a smoke gun and a tube – the product photograph is a little bit misleading as it does NOT come with the pictured glass dome.
With that being said, it still works great for the purposes of smoking cocktails. Just add your wood chips to the gun and place the open end of the tube underneath a bowl or dome that houses your drink. This one also works great for adding flavor to your cheeses, meats, and nuts.
The Velep Cocktail Smoker Box just oozes class, and makes a great eye piece for just about any home bar set up.
It’s got substance in addition to style though, as it functions incredibly well with respect to making smoked cocktails. The box is large enough to hold two whiskey glasses at once, and also comes with a food tray use outside of just drinks.
The box works similarly to some of the other products on this list. You place wood chips into a smoke gun, which heats the wood and funnels the ensuing smoke into the box via a tube. It’s quite easy to use and is sure to make an aesthetic statement at your bar.
The box itself is lightweight and easy to move around. Even though it does not weigh much, it’s quite durable because it is built of thick bamboo. A brush is also included in the kit to help you keep the box in great shape through many smoking sessions.
One of the most versatile kits we’ve come across is the Homia Smoking Gun Kit. This pack actually comes with a smoking gun, hose, dome lid, disk lid, wood chips, and a few extra spare parts.
The dome lid is big enough to smoke a couple of glasses at a time, and the disk lid is for placement on top of an individual whiskey glass. Both the dome lid and disk have a connection port where the hose inserts to funnel smoke inside.
This kit comes with 4 flavors of wood chips to get you started off, but the jars are not very big so you will likely need to order more after a few uses.
Choosing the Best Cocktail Smoker For You
Size and Portability
Cocktail smokers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Do you need a compact smoker that won’t take up too much bar space? Or do you need something that’s lightweight and easy to take on the go? Either way, take a moment to consider the size of the products you are comparing to make sure they are a good fit for your program.
What Comes With the Kit?
Not all cocktail smokers come with the same accessories included. Be sure to take a look at what is included with your kit so that you aren’t missing anything the first time you pull it out and try to make a smoked cocktail. Do wood chips come as part of the deal or are you going to have to order those on your own? For butane powered torches, does butane come included? These are questions to consider when comparing one product to another.
Let’s be real, not only do we want an enhanced cocktail, we want to look cool while we make it. Some kits out there are get-r-done style units that look a little disheveled. There’s nothing wrong with those types of kits, but just make sure you consider where you are going to smoke cocktails and whether the kit you’re looking at will enhance the ambiance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Cocktail Smokers Safe to Use Indoors?
The short answer is yes. In most facets of life, creating a fire or smoke indoors is a really really bad idea because it can lead to smoke damage to your property or worse, you could burn the place to the ground if you aren’t careful.
Cocktail smokers are an exception to this rule. The reason is because relatively speaking, these kits make such a small amount of smoke that it’s extremely unlikely that the smoldering wood chip source would be able to start a fire inside.
With that being said though, you definitely do need to be careful when you make smoked cocktails. Forgotten about or misplaced smoldering wood chips can be hot enough to light something on fire (like paper towels) which could then start a big fire in your home.
Bottom line, cocktail smokers are very safe to use but you still have to be careful and pay attention while you operate them.
What Are the Best Types of Wood Chips to Use for Cocktails?
There really isn’t one best type of wood for cocktail smoking, but apple, cherry, hickory, and mesquite are all great choices to get started out as they work quite well with many cocktail recipes.
Don’t forget that your smoking doesn’t have to be limited to just wood! Don’t be afraid to experiment with herbs like sage, rosemary, or thyme. Cinnamon bark and nutmeg are also nice choices.
What Are the Best Cocktails To Smoke?
Whiskey based drinks are probably the most common type of drink to smoke, but you’d be surprised how many different cocktails work with a little smoky flavor. Here’s a quick look at some of our favorite cocktails to enhance with a smoking kit:
- Smoked Old Fashioned
- Bloody Mary
- Dragon’s Breath
Whether you’re new to the cocktail smoking scene or a bona fide veteran looking to update the ol’ bar equipment, we hope this guide to the best cocktail smokers has been helpful. At the end of the day, there are quite a few great products out there and the choice of which is superior is largely a personal one.
If you have any feedback for us or think we missed one of the top smokers that needs to be on this list, please reach out as we’d love to hear from you!