All around the world, people from different cultures have used smoke as a flavour enhancer since cavemen hung meats up to dry in their simple dwellings, and found this both preserved them, and improved their flavour.
In Scotland, many of our distillers burn peat to dry and flavour our malts, particularly on the isle of Islay, where the particular make-up of the island's peat makes for a very distinctive character, immediately recognisable and much sought-after.
In Glasgow, the Mal bar in the Malmaison hotel have been applying this idea to classic cocktails, to great effect.
Here are three of the smoked cocktails their bartender, David Feeney, has devised to showcase the possibilites of this exciting addition to their cocktail arsenal:
Old Man's Hat
"Old Man's Hat" - A Twist on a classic Manhattan - The richness of Highland Park makes for a beautiful Manhattan, and the added smoke puts you in mind of warm summer nights sitting round a fire.
• 50ml Highland Park (option of 18 yr or Dark Origins)
• 25ml Vya Sweet Vermouth
• splash Luxardo Marascino liqueur (no more than 5 ml)
• 2 drops Fee Brothers Old Fashion bitters
Smoked using applewood chips
Straight up in martini glass, garnish with grapefruit twist
"Mandarita" - A Twist on a classic Margarita - The flavours of mezcal and napoleon work extremely well together, the agave adds a natural sweetness, and the cinnamon provides a bite. The fact that this cocktail is then smoked using hickory chips only serves to improve the vibrant palette of flavours.
• 25ml Good quality mezcal
• 25ml Mandarine Napoleon
• 12.5ml agave nectar
• 12.5ml fresh lime juice
• sprinkle of cinammon
• couple of dashes of Jerry Thomas bitters
• sprinkle of sea salt
Smoked using hickory
Straight up in coupe glass, garnish with a lime twist
"Prickly Pear" - A Twist on a classic Sidecar - The lemon and pear cognac work extremely well together but if left without the bite of the chilli, run the risk of being too saccharine. The applewood smoke again lends an intense smokiness to the spice.
• 25ml Xante Pear Cognac
• 25ml Rhum Agricole or Good quality cachaca
• 20ml lemon juice
• couple dashes Bitter Truth orange bitters (NOT Regan's or Angostura Orange!)
• 15ml chilli gomme (prepared using 2:1 ratio gomme and adding 3-• 4 HOT chilli peppers to infuse)
Smoked using applewood
On the rocks, preferably in a large brandy balloon, lemon twist to garnish
• You can try these excellent new cocktails at Malmaison 278 W George St, Glasgow G2 4LL,
0844 693 0653