Smokes & smokers
Words by Simon Difford
Originally used a preservative, chefs commonly use smoke to flavour food and a chef's smoker can also be used to flavour cocktails.
Resembling a battery-powered bong, chef's smokers use an electric fan to draw air through a fire chamber with a gauze base and expel the smoke created through a plastic tube which can be bubbled through your cocktail or dispended into a jar/shaker/mixing glass containing the cocktail.
A large range of fine wood shavings cut for use in smokers are available with maple, apple and hickory wood most popular. Dried spices, leaf teas and even essential oil soaked cotton wool can also be burnt.
Be warned, the flavour of smoke is very pervasive and over exposure can ruin a good drink in the same manner as over use of bitters. Turn on the motor before attempting to light as the fan will help draw the flame into the chamber and aid ignition. Once lit chef's smokers produce a lot of smoke so have your drink ready to be smoked, ensure adequate ventilation of the room and beware of smoke alarms. It's essential to clean smokers regularly to prevent the resins generated during burning clogging up the device and also impairing the flavours emitted by the smoke.