Smoked Old Fashioned

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

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This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

Every since Robbie was about 1 year old, Laura and I have made a point of having a date night every other week.  This idea sorta fell into our laps when we needed a babysitter last minute (we had tickets to The Lion King).  I happened to mention something to his daycare teacher when I picked the little guy up, and she said she could watch him.  That soon evolved into regular babysitting nights…and regular nights when Laura and I could have adult conversations.  (Let’s be real, though.  Most of the time we just talked about Robbie anyways.  I know you parents out there can identify.)

But here’s the thing.  Regular date nights are awesome, but sometimes it’s hard to fill 3 hours.  (We have a 3-hour minimum rule.  We figure if our babysitter is giving up her night, then we should stay out at least 3 hours to make it worth it.)  Think about it.  Going out to eat takes what?  An hour.  Maybe an hour and a half?  Ok, two if you really push it and order appetizers and dessert – which we don’t do that often.  We’ve been known to go to Home Depot on our date nights.  Seriously.

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

We’ve solved this “problem” by dropping by a local distillery for a drink.  Sometimes it’s before dinner, sometimes it’s after dinner.  Either way, it’s a great way to fill up the extra time.  And Laura and I get to enjoy a tasty cocktail, too.  #Winning!

Several months ago, we dropped by Yankee Distillers for a post-dinner drink.  It was a fairly quiet Saturday evening, and the two distillery dogs greeted us as we sat down on the comfy leather chairs in the corner.  I opted for my usual Old Fashioned, while Laura ordered a cucumber vodka lemonade.  That’s when the bartender asked me if I wanted my Old Fashioned smoked?  Say what?  Smoke my drink?  Uh, yes, please!

Smoked Old Fashioned

Let me tell ya something.  The bartenders at Yankee Distillers make a darned good Old Fashioned.  But they make an even better Smoked Old Fashioned!  I’ve watched them make this drink enough over the past several years that I could pretty much recite it from memory.  (Luckily, they were nice enough to share their recipe on Facebook a while back, too.)

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

An Old Fashioned is a classic bourbon cocktail.  The ingredients list is short, and it couldn’t be easier to make, too!  Basically mix bourbon whiskey with some simple syrup, bitters and a twist of orange peel.  But here are a couple of tricks for taking your Old Fashioned from good to great.

Garnishes for an Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned is a simple, classic cocktail, and it doesn’t need much in the way of garnishes. A couple of ice cubes and an orange peel is how I usually roll. However, I have seen these served with a rosemary sprig if you’re looking to make it a bit fancier!

First, maple syrup.

Instead of simple syrup (which is just sugar and water), use maple syrup instead.  You need some sort of sweetener in a Smoked Old Fashioned, and the maple syrup adds an unexpected (and delicious) depth of flavor.  Just don’t use that “maple syrup” in a squeeze bottle.  Use the real thing.  (We’re big fans of Runamok Maple Syrup from northern Vermont.  They were on Oprah’s list of favorites several years ago, and they make a number of fun syrups.  Think maple syrup aged in rye bourbon barrels.  Fun!  Fortunately for us, Runamok has a storefront on Amazon.)

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

Second, black walnut bitters.

Bitters are just that.  Bitter.  But when added to a drink, they can really start to work their magic.  Angostura bitters or orange bitters are the most common, but Yankee Distillers uses black walnut bitters in their Smoked Old Fashioned.  The depth of flavor here is amazing!  I noticed that Yankee uses Fee Brothers’ Black Walnut Bitters, so I ordered a bottle from Amazon.  (Is there anything that Amazon doesn’t have!?)  Bitters might seem expensive for a small bottle, but that bottle will last a looong time.  You only need a couple drops for each drink.

Lastly, smoked.

Here’s where you can slip into your alterego of evil bartending wizard.  If you haven’t come across smoking guns yet, then you need to be introduced.  ASAP.  Smoking guns burn a small amount of wood chips (almost wood dust) and then send that smoke through a tube.  You will need to get a separate smoking dome, and I picked up a simple plastic one from Amazon

If you don’t want to go with the special equipment, you can use a glass bottle with a medium opening.  Just place the smoking wand into the bottle and fill it with smoke.  Pour in the old fashioned cocktail, give it a quick swirl and then pour it back into an old fashioned glass. In a pinch, you could cover a pint glass with a piece of saran wrap, too – it would accomplish the goal.

There are a number of companies that make smoking guns, but I have the Breville version.  It’s super easy to use!

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

For a Smoked Old Fashioned, you simply make the drink as normal, and then put it under the smoking dome.  Turn on the smoking gun, and let it fill the dome with smoke.  Now just wait 2-5 minutes (experiment with how long based on your taste preferences).  Pull the dome off, and serve up your drinks.  Cheers!

But does a Smoked Old Fashioned taste smoky?  I personally don’t think so.  You’ll smell the smoke as you go to take a sip, but the drink itself doesn’t taste like you’re licking an ashtray.  (That’s a good thing in my opinion.) The intensity of flavor depends on how long you let the drink sit in the smoke.

What else can you smoke with a smoking gun?  The sky is the limit here!  I had some guys over a few months back, and we tried smoking everything we could find.  Smoked nuts?  Good.  Smoked cheese?  Could be really good, but I think we left the cheese in a little too long.  1 minute tops next time.  Smoked ice cream?  Don’t try it.  Seriously, though, you could smoke anything from cooked meats to desserts.  What about a slice of smoked sour cherry pie?  That sounds amazing, right?

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

What kind of wood chips do you use?  You’ll want to use wood chips that are designed for smoking guns.  These wood chips are super fine, so they burn quickly.  As far as flavor, that depends on what you’re smoking.  The Breville smoking gun came with apple and hickory chips.  (Jax Smok’in Tinder make a cool 5-flavor variety pack. – aff. link)  I used apple for the Smoked Old Fashioned.  I think mesquite would be better for meats and cheeses, but maybe I’ll have to experiment next time.

For a fun twist, you can skip the wood chips entirely and use pipe tobacco. We recently ordered a smoked old fashioned cocktail at the Quill and Crow in Asheville, NC, and they put a pinch of pipe tobacco in their smoking gun. Different? Yes. I enjoyed it, but my wife thought it was too reminiscent of smoking a cigarette. Give it a try and see what you think, though!

Is a smoking gun dangerous?  Yes, if you consider lighting a candle dangerous.  That’s pretty much what you’re doing.  And the smoke is a cold-smoke rather than a hot smoke like you might have outdoors on a grill or smoker.  That means you actually can smoke cheese (do it!) or ice cream (don’t do it!) without melting it.

All in all, smoking guns are a super fun toy for anyone who likes to cook.  And I assume that if you landed on this blog, then you probably like to cook.  The Smoked Old Fashioned has become one of my go-to cocktails, both at home and when we go out on date nights.  It sounds fancy, but it’s insanely easy to make…and drink.  Plus, it’ll be a great conversation piece for your next party…cheers!

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

Did you make a Smoked Old Fashioned at home?  Leave a comment with your thoughts below, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your creation!

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

Smoked Old Fashioned

This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 drink
Calories: 164kcal


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup can use simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Black Walnut bitters can use 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 ” piece of orange peel


  • Using a mixing glass, add bourbon, maple syrup and bitters. Add ice and stir until well combined.
  • Strain mixture into bar glass over ice.
  • Hold the orange peel over glass and twist. Rub orange peel around the rim of the glass and drop peel into drink. (Optional: Using a kitchen torch or match, lightly toast the exterior portion of the orange peel before twisting.)
  • Place cocktail under a smoking dome and use a smoking gun to add smoke. Let cocktail sit for 2-4 minutes before removing dome. Enjoy!
This Smoked Old Fashioned introduces maple syrup and smoke for a fun twist on a classic cocktail!

Looking for more fun tequila or whiskey cocktails?  Check out some of these other favorites, too:

Fall is here! Grab some fresh apple cider and whip up this fun Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail!

Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

Want to spice up your cocktail hour this summer? Then mix up a Jalapeno Margarita or two!

Jalapeno Margarita

Garnished with lemon sugar, this Blueberry Bourbon Smash makes for one heck of an awesome summer cocktail!

Blueberry Bourbon Smash

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  1. 5 stars
    Hubby and I have a date night every week and we always look forward to it! And old fashioned’s are a fave! Love the smoke element here…definitely takes up the fun level a whole lot 😉 Nice touch with the maple syrup too! Cheers, my friend 🙂

    1. I’m telling you, Dawn…this Smoked Old Fashioned is amazing! The old fashioned with maple syrup as the sweetener is pretty great (and don’t forget the dash of black walnut bitters), but then add the smoky element, too? Oh yeah!!

  2. 5 stars
    David, I’ve smoked a lot of strange things in my younger life, but never a smoked Old Fashioned. A drink I must try, should I ever get a smoke gun. I’ve thought about it, but wondered if they were actually effective. Thanks for the insight.

    1. I must say that smoking guns are a really cool toy, Ron! I know you can use to add smoke flavor to meats, but we haven’t tried that yet. The Old Fashioned alone is worth it in my book! 🙂

    1. Oh, I highly (!!) recommend copying this idea, Matt. I don’t know if Thing 1 and Thing 2 are in preschool, but their teachers would probably be very open to the idea of babysitting. A couple of hours away on a Saturday night? Worth anything you want to charge! And then on other nights? We can have Smoked Old Fashioneds! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Good for you and Laura having a date night every two weeks. I think it really important for a couple to have that. I have never seen a smoke gun like this, very interesting. This smoked old fashioned sounds like it is awesome.

    1. Yes! Those date nights are always the highlights of our weeks. It really is important to get away…even if it is just for dinner and some errands at Home Depot. Haha! So these smoking guns are a lot of fun, Dawn. A real toy for any food lover!

  4. 5 stars
    This is so cool! And now I’m trying to come up with desserts to smoke. . .this could get dangerous! I’m thinking I should start with cheesecake (because of course). Thanks for the idea, David!

    1. Yup, I was thinking about you when I wrote this post, Kelsie. I was like “she’s gonna try to smoke cheesecake.” Haha! Hmmm…how would Cookie feel about smoked dog food?

  5. wow! a smoked cocktail? never heard of such a thing but it sounds fabulous! and black walnut bitters? also amazing and never heard of that one before either… keep on having fun… cheers sherry

  6. I do love an Old Fashioned, but I’ve never even considered having it smoked. What an interesting idea! Also, I think you’re on to something with smoking something cherry-flavored. Hmmmm. I don’t have a smoking gun, but it does stir up the creative juices a bit…

    1. Yes! A smoked Old Fashioned is a strange concept, but I’m telling you that it works. The smoke flavor is noticeable, but it’s not overly smokey. (Of course, if you leave it in the smoking dome longer, then it would get overly smokey.) You should get a smoking gun…they’re a great toy for foodie lovers!

  7. 5 stars
    I love that you and Laura have regular date nights, David.

    I must say that I’ve never had a smoked cocktail, but what a fun idea! I’d love to try one!

    1. We do indeed have regular date nights! That was a thing we started way back when Robbie was about 1 year old, and we’ve kept it going. It’s great! 🙂

    1. The smoked angle here adds a fun extra layer of flavor! Plus, it makes you feel kinda like a wizard when you start the smoking gun! 🙂

    1. It does sound like something out of a cooking competition! However, I did it here at home…and it worked. 🙂 I highly recommend playing around with the smoking gun. 🙂 Thanks, Kathy!

  8. It’s such a great idea to have a regular date nights but I can definitely relate to how easy it is just to talk about the kids, even if they’re not around. I love the idea of a local distillery where you can just turn up and order a pre- or post-dinner drink. And this one looks fabulous, David!

    1. Yes! We’ve been doing the regular date nights for, gosh, 3 years now. We love those nights out! And Robbie actually looks forward to having his babysitter come over. I think we all need to mix things up once in a while. 🙂 Speaking of mixing things up, I highly recommend mixing up one of these Old Fashioneds, Katerina. They’re quite yummy!

  9. 5 stars
    We had date night last night. I finally managed to get some time off work. Went to a lovely Tapas. Love a Bourbon David so I know I’d love this!

    1. Awesome! So glad you guys got out for a fun night on the town. Next time, you’ll have to make a Smoked Old Fashioned to celebrate date night! 🙂

  10. Oooh I’ve never smoked a drink before… sounds really cool! And hats off to you and Laura for making a point of regular date nights. I think it’s important to have couples-only time! My hubby and I just had a night date in NYC a few nights ago, where we went to dinner and a concert. It was so fun!

    1. Oh man, that sounds awesome to go into NYC just for the night! We’re a bit too far to pull that off, but we’ve found some fun places around town. And, yes, smoking a cocktail is a really fun activity. I highly recommend it!

  11. David , Check Out Epicurios Episodes Of Level One Chef’s Verses Level Three !!! They Made Loganstinos Rolls And Froze , Then Killed , Then Boiled The Lobster And Then Smoked The Meat , And Then Made Mexican Street Corn By Shucking And Burning The Corn Over A Gas Stove , Pretty Cool !!!

    1. Hey Eileen! Oh gosh, that’s a tough one. Because the bourbon will be a primary flavor in the Old Fashioned, you should use a bourbon that you like to drink straight (that is, if you like to drink bourbon straight!). I often use Basil Hayden’s when making Old Fashioneds. It has good flavor, and the price is reasonable.

      Of course, with that said, play around with different bourbons and see which ones you like better! I hope you enjoy these smoked Old Fashioneds…they are tasty and unique!

  12. 5 stars
    Really enjoying this drink! i’m a bourbon girl and an old fashioned is one of my go-to cocktails. i made this with some runamok smoked maple syrup and it was awesome! i also have a brand new bottle of the Black walnut bitters since i used up my last one. (i really enjoy adding a few dashes of that and chocolate bitters to my morning coffee). i have the breville smoking gun which i love, but didn’t want to deal with it tonight since it’s a weeknight but you can bet it will be coming out over the weekend! and the smoked maple syrup gave it the smoky flavor i adore.

    1. Hey Kathleen! So glad you’re enjoying this one – it really is fantastic, isn’t it? We’re absolutely bourbon folks here in our house. We’re also Runamok maple folks, too! I’ve never tried bitters in coffee, though. I’ll have to try that idea out soon. Oh, and speaking of new ideas, grab a cinnamon stick and crack/chop/pulverize it into small pieces. Then stick those into your smoking gun. We went to a cocktail bar a few weeks back that used smoked cinnamon stick in some of their drinks – mind blown! (Funny enough, it wasn’t in their Smoked Old Fashioneds.) Either way, thanks for the comment and cheers!

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