The Big Smoke

Big Smoke Cocktail

Big Smoke cocktail


After a few months hiatus, Mixology Monday has resurfaced. I am much pleased as this monthly challenge usually gets me thinking in a new way and August’s theme of Brown, Bitter and Stirred hosted by Lindsey Johnson was no different. 

Brown, Bitter and Stirred immediately suggested a Manhattan and as I’d already been wondering how to use some tobacco-infused whisky I’d been planning to make,  the two naturally seemed to come together. Having previously and successfully dabbled with tobacco in drinks (a cigar-infused bourbon – a smooth, quite sweet experience) I felt it was time to up the ante and get some hardcore smokiness into the bottle.  

So  I paid a visit to Smith & Sons tobacco shop on Charing Cross road. Without preamble, I asked for  a tobacco  that would be good to infuse whisky with which the chap in the shop was a bit bemused by at first – “So, you don’t want to smoke it, you want to, er, drink it??” After a few questions he realised I didn’t have a clue what I wanted so opened a few jars for me to sniff. 

I dismissed the first few samples as too sweet (I’ve seen on some American sites that Black Cherry tobacco is popular for infusing but the version I sniffed was artificial and rather sickly) and the chap reached for Old London blend.  Intensely smoky, even peaty, I felt it would give a darker, charred flavour than the cigar infusion, which was exactly what I was looking for. 

I’d originally planned to use a peaty style Scotch but as  I had some Glenmorangie that had been knocking around for a while,  I thought it best to use that up. It worked brilliantly as the sweetness of the Scotch is exactly what was needed to counteract and complement the peaty tobacco. 

I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going with this Manhattan so, as I’d started this journey being led by my nose, I thought it best to let the old olfactory receptors finish the job. Whipping out the most likely suspects from the cocktail cabinet, I inhaled from each bottle until I felt I’d got a good balance. 

The result confirmed what the nostrils had indicated as a good match. It was the first time I’ve made a drink by sense of smell but I enjoyed this drink so much I dare say it won’t be the last. And discoveries like that is what Mixology Monday is all about. 

Big Smoke

Tobacco-infused whisky

Tobacco-infused whisky


1.5 Balvenie Signature
0.5 Lillet Rouge
0.5 tobacco infused whisky
Few dashes  cherry brandy
dash Angostura 

Swill a martini glass with the tobacco-infused whisky. Add with the rest of the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir thoroughly. Pour into the martini glass and garnish with a cherry. 

Those with  a sweeter tooth might like to add a dash of maraschino syrup to taste. 

Mixology Monday Logo


4 thoughts on “The Big Smoke

  1. Sounds very interesting, something I’m inclined to try as a pipe smoker. Al tough a tobacco bourbon seems more to my liking or even a golden/dark rum. I know Purl had some Cigar infused bourbon and I was a fan of the Dalmore Cigar Malt. Tobacco liqueurs are very interesting too…

    • I also have tobacco bourbon made with a very charred tobacco – you might like to check out my Tom Waits-inspired Grapefruit moon:

      Purl have a cigar-infused syrup which is obviously a very practical way of getting tobacco into a drink but i like the way the tobacco interacts with the spirit in the bottle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s