This recipe was first published in our feature on Smoked Cocktails.
By Frankie Solarik, Bar Chef, Toronto (from The Bar Chef: A Modern Approach to Cocktails by Frankie Solarik, Harper Collins, 2013)
Solarik says of this drink from 2008: “It truly is a very special example of a smoked cocktail, incorporating both aromatics when presented and a truly remarkable flavour profile integrating a well balanced amount of smoke with depth and complexity. I personally prefer to use straight unaltered hickory wood for aromatic and nostalgic reference purposes; the vanilla bean adds a very interesting depth and sweetness to the bitterness of straight hickory smoke.”
·60ml Premium rye whiskey
·15ml Vanilla-infused brandy*
·15ml Cherry and vanilla bitters**
·20ml Hickory smoked syrup***
·1 Large hand-chipped ice sphere
·2 Cups hickory chunks
·1 Vanilla pod
Combine liquid ingredients and ice in a shaker. Shake. Fill a large rocks glass with a large ice sphere. Next, char 100g of small to medium bark-free hickory chunks in a frying pan until embers glow throughout, then add vanilla pod, concentrating heat on the pod. Remove the frying pan from the heat. Strain water from rocks glass and pour built cocktail over ice. Place pan of hickory and vanilla on pedestal then place the cocktail on top of the glowing embers. Enclose cocktail with top of bell jar, present to guest and let sit until smoke settles and cocktail is visible in bell jar (approximately 2 minutes). Remove cocktail from bell jar, wipe with clean cloth and serve.
*Vanilla-infused brandy: 6 vanilla beans (sliced lengthways); 1,680ml brandy. Place ingredients in infusion jar. Let infuse for approximately 3 months, strain and bottle for use.
**Cherry and vanilla bitters: 1 can of cherries (strained) or 300g pitted cherries; 2 pods bourbon vanilla (sliced lengthways); 30g star anise; 20g clove; 20g cardamom;10g black peppercorns; 30g fennel; 4 liquorice root sticks; 3 x 2 inch cinnamon sticks; 1,200ml rye. Place ingredients in infusion jar and top with rye. Let infuse for 3 months. Strain with cheesecloth and bottle for use.
***Hickory smoked syrup: 1 litre vanilla syrup; 200g hickory chunks. Place vanilla syrup in steel -size hotel pan. Prepare hickory chunks to glowing embers, extinguish flames then place on large steel hotel tray. Place pan with vanilla syrup on top of embers, enclose with a larger steel hotel pan and let smoke for 15 mins. Transfer syrup to 1 litre container, close lid and place in fridge (lasts 5 days).