Smoking your whiskey glass is a great way to add more aromas and flavors to your whiskey, which is why I wanted to find out exactly how to do that. After, some research, experimentation and several questions from my wife, I finally know what I’m doing. So, here’s my step-by-step guide to smoking your whiskey glass.
1. Make Sure Everything is Done Safely
You don’t need to be told that there’s no smoke without fire, and that fire is dangerous, especially when alcohol is involved – but I’m going to tell you anyway.
Use your common sense and make sure you don’t do anything I could be sued for.
2. Use a Whiskey Tumbler
There are different types of whiskey glass and while you can smoke any of them, the best type to smoke is a whiskey tumbler. For several reasons.
The first is because whiskey tumblers are the strongest of all the whiskey glasses. Unlike the more delicate and fragile nosing glasses, whiskey tumblers have reinforced sides and a thick and heavy bottom.
Since smoking a whiskey glass involves turning it upside down and resting it on a hard surface or putting something hard on top of it, you’ll want to make sure you use a whiskey glass that’s strong enough that it won’t chip or crack easily in the process.
The other reason to use a whiskey tumbler is because they’re bigger than the other types of whiskey glasses and have a wider opening than them. The wider opening makes it easier to turn the glass over the burning ingredients and the bigger size allows the glass to be filled with more smoke.
3. Choose What You’re Going to Burn
As mentioned, the whole purpose of smoking a whiskey glass is to add aromas and flavors to your whiskey – and you get to choose which ones. Since the added aromas and flavors depend on what was used to create the smoke, the way you add the ones you want is by choosing the right ingredients to burn.
You can use almost anything to create the smoke as long as it’s not poisonous and doesn’t contain chemicals, but the most common things to use are:
- Wood chips
- Dried herbs
The most common wood chips to use are Oak wood chips, but you can also try Maple, Cherry or Birch wood chips. The most common herb to use is Rosemary and the most common spice to use is Cinnamon.
And there are several uncommon things you can use too, for example:
- Dried tea
- Vanilla beans
- Citrus peels
The key here is to experiment with the ingredients you use to create the smoke and find the ones you like. However, if you’re just getting started and want a pointer in the right direction, I can recommend Traeger Oak Pellets, which you can find on Amazon here.
4. Chill Your Whiskey Glass
Chill the whiskey glass you’re going to smoke. This is important because smoke will float away as soon as it can, which is unhelpful when you’re trying to smoke an open-ended whiskey glass.
Since smoke tends to stick to things that are chilled, using a chilled whiskey glass will help the smoke stick to its sides and keep it around for longer.
5. Set Fire to The Ingredients
Place your ingredients onto a non-flammable surface and light them.
You can use matches or a lighter to set it on fire, or a blowtorch to heat it and create smoke without any flames.
Do not use lighter fluid since that will impart a chemical flavor to the smoke.
6. Upturn Your Glass Over the Burning Ingredients
When your ingredients start to smoke, turn your whiskey glass upside down and place it on the surface over the burning and smoking ingredients, covering them completely. Allow the smoke to fill the inside of your whiskey glass.
At this point you can do one of two things, depending on how smokey you want your whiskey glass to be:
Option 1: Lightly Smoked Whiskey Glass
Wait until the smoke has filled the inside of your whiskey glass, turn it back over and let the smoke float away. Since you chilled your whiskey glass, all the smoke will have dissipated except that which stuck to the sides of the glass.
Pour your whiskey and let the lightly smoked whiskey glass add its aromas and flavors to your drink.
Option 2: Heavily Smoked Whiskey Glass
Let the fire burn for longer (3 – 5 minutes should be enough) so that more smoke fills up your overturned whiskey glass. You may need to let some oxygen into the glass, so that the fire doesn’t go out.
Turn your whiskey glass back over, pour your whiskey and cover it with a lid. Let your smokey whiskey glass sit for at least half a minute, as that’s when most of the aromas and flavors from the smoke are added to the whiskey. Swirling the glass during this time will cause even more smoke flavors to be added.
7. Make The Process Even Easier
As you can see, smoking a whiskey glass is pretty easy, once you know what you’re doing. The only downside is that it can be a bit tricky to find the right surface to use, or a lid for your whiskey glass, or even to burn the ingredients and create the smoke in the first place. And when you’ve finished you’re left with a bit of a mess.
To make things really easy, you can use a smoker kit or smoking box.
A smoker kit consists of a machine that lets you create smoke easily and a hose to help you direct it. The machine has a special chamber for burning the ingredients, so that you don’t make a mess on a random surface in your house.
You can use the hose to pour a controlled stream of smoke straight into your whiskey glass, or you can cover a glass of whiskey with a glass bowl, insert the end of the hose and let it fill the bowl and the whiskey glass with smoke.
There are many smoker kits, but I like the one from the Gramercy Kitchen Company, which you can find on Amazon here.
An even easier, and quite frankly more spectacular way to smoke a whiskey glass is by using a smoking box. This is a large box with glass doors on either side. Open the door, put your glass of whiskey inside, press a button and the box fills with smoke. When you’re done, open the door, allow the excess smoke to billow out impressively and then remove your smoking whiskey drink.
The smoking box I recommend is the one from Crafthouse by Fortessa which you can find on Amazon here.