How to Smoke Whiskey: 2 Easy & Inexpensive Methods

Not only is it good to know how to smoke whiskey it’s also good to know why you would do that in the first place.

To answer the question of how to smoke whiskey, we’ll look at two easy an inexpensive methods, both of which entail making a fire, creating some smoke and then getting it together with the whiskey. The only difference between the two is how smoky your whiskey will be.

Both these methods can be made even easier by using a smoking gun. And of course, we have to mention the most spectacular way of smoking whiskey – by using a gorgeous smoking box.

As for why you would smoke whiskey, well there are two reasons. First because it adds another layer of complexity both in aromas and flavors, to your drink. And second – although let’s face it, for some it’s the more important reason – a dramatic swirling smoking whiskey spectacle looks pretty cool too.

A whiskey glass with smoke billowing out

Why Smoke Whiskey

As mentioned, there are two reasons why you’d want to smoke whiskey: because of the added aromas and flavors, and because of how cool it looks.

Let’s deal with the supposedly grown-up reason first.

Smoking anything means you allow the smoked item to take on the flavorful molecules created by a fire. Infusing your whiskey with smoke is no different and is a way of adding aromas and flavors to your drink.

The added aromas and flavors will depend on what was used to create the smoke, or to be more precise the type of wood chips, dried herbs or spices you set fire to. The most common types of wood chips used are Oak, but you can try Maple, Cherry or Birch. The most common types of herbs used are Rosemary and Cinnamon. You can also use vanilla beans and citrus peels.

Traeger Oak Pellets

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You can use almost anything to create the smoke as long as it’s not poisonous and doesn’t contain chemicals. You’re trying to create food safe smoke, don’t forget.

The key here is to experiment with the ingredients you use to create the smoke, to find something you like. You can also experiment with which smoke ingredients have the aromatic qualities that fit perfectly with any given whiskey. You may find that something that does not go well with one whiskey will taste fantastic with another.

As for the supposedly non-grown-up reason, a smoking drink does look pretty cool. Don’t take my word for it, test this out yourself. Have a party, invite your friends, make yourself a smoked whiskey and see who else will want one despite the fact you’re making it with one of your lower quality whiskeys.

How to Smoke Whiskey: Method 1 – Smoke the Glass

Place the ingredient you’re going to burn onto a non-flammable surface …

Wait, do I need to tell you to be careful when playing with fire or can I assume you’ve got a working brain?

… then light it. 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.

When you start to see smoke turn your glass upside down over the burning ingredients and set it down. If the glass is chilled it helps the smoke stick to its sides. Wait until there is enough smoke, turn the glass back over and pour yourself a whiskey.

Enjoy the spectacle, enjoy the aromas and enjoy the taste.


Yes, it really is that easy.

How to Smoke Whiskey: Method 2 – Smoke the Whiskey

The problem with the first method is that it only infuses your whiskey with the lightest of flavors. If you want a smokier taste, you’re going to have to use the second method, which is just as easy as the first, but with one extra step.

As before light your ingredient but this time use a mason jar or a decanter to capture the smoke. Again, you may want to chill the jar or decanter before turning it upside down over the smoking ingredient so that the smoke sticks to its sides.

This time you’ll need to wait for a few minutes (three to five) until there’s enough smoke in the entire jar or decanter. You may need to let in some oxygen so that the fire can burn longer and create enough smoke to turn the jar or decanter opaque. Once that’s done turn your jar or decanter back over, pour your whiskey inside and seal it with the lid.

You can let the whiskey sit for anything up to half a minute as any more will not add to the smokiness. On the other hand, if you shake it, the more you do so the smokier the flavor of your whiskey will be. Once again, you’ll need to experiment to find the exact amount of smokiness from a given ingredient that’s best for a particular whiskey.

Pour your smoking whiskey.

Yes, it’s just as easy as the first method.

Making Both Methods Even Easier: Using a Smoking Gun

If you want to smoke whiskey in the easiest possible way, then you’re going to need to use a smoking gun.

You’re still going to be smoking whiskey in one of the above two ways, it’s just that instead of having to use random household items to burn your ingredients on or to capture the smoke, you’ll use a special machine for creating and directing the smoke. There’s a place to burn your ingredients and a pipe that allows you to direct the smoke to wherever you want.

You can use the hose to pour a controlled stream of smoke straight into your 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 with smoke.

The only downside to the super easy version of the above methods for smoking whiskey is that it’s more expensive. After all, you are using a special machine and not a glass or decanter you have at home. But don’t worry smoking guns are not that expensive and most are reasonably priced.

Gramercy Kitchen Company Cocktail Smoker

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How to Smoke Whiskey in the Most Spectacular Fashion: Use a Gorgeous Smoking Box

So now we know how to smoke whiskey, and how to smoke whiskey easily and inexpensively.

But there’s one more thing that’s important to know.

And that is how to smoke whiskey in the most spectacular fashion.

After all, part of the reason for smoking whiskey is that a smoking whiskey glass looks cool, so you might as well make the whole process look cool too.

With a gorgeous and elegant smoking box, you put your whiskey inside, fill the box with smoke, open the door, allow the excess smoke to billow out impressively and then remove a smoking whiskey drink.

The only disadvantage of the most spectacular way of smoking whiskey is that it’s not inexpensive.

Crafthouse by Fortessa Glass Smoking Box

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We’ve seen how to smoke whiskey easily and inexpensively in two ways. It’s all about creating smoke and filling your glass, decanter or mason jar with it and then your whiskey.

We’ve seen how to smoke whiskey even more easily though slightly less inexpensively with a smoking gun. And we’ve seen how to smoke whiskey expensively but in the most spectacular fashion with a smoking box.

It’s also clear why you’d want to smoke whiskey. It adds aromas and flavors and yes, because it looks cool too.

It will be a lot of work to discover which smoke ingredients create the flavors you like, which whiskeys they fit with and how much smoky flavor to infuse, but something tells me you were going to spend that time drinking whiskey anyway.

Josh Mitchell

I'm Josh Mitchell. I love whiskey and am working on increasing my whiskey tasting abilities and my collection.

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