If a good amount of time has passed since you last traveled, then you might have missed one of the hottest trends at resorts across the Caribbean: smoked cocktails. Now, this is obviously not the newest thing in mixology—far from it—but you must understand that combining this technique with some of the most iconic tropical drinks has resulted in some amazing, delicious new twists, and we simply can’t get enough of it.
The problem, of course, is that we spend the most time at home, so more often than not we are just dreaming about the food and drinks we love at our favorite resorts. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take matters into our own hands and try to recreate those awesome cocktails. All you need is the right smoker, and these should do the trick.
When it comes to this incredibly cool, compact device, the name is the hardest thing to learn. But even if it’s difficult to describe just how the Stündenglass Kompact Gravity Infuser works, when combined with the glass cloche, amateur bartenders will enjoy two results: 1) Guests will be wowed by the process, as the 360-degree rotating glass is basically a show, before 2) A phenomenal smoked cocktail is then delivered to predictably favorable results.
By itself, the gravity infuser also acts as a hookah for tobacco enthusiasts, and one of its greatest aspects is that it is compact enough to fit into the travel case so it can go on vacations as well. But bring along the glass dome and wood chips, and those fantastic cocktails can be made on the beach or poolside, too.
On many of my trips, when I’ve spent time with bartenders and learned about their creative processes, this is the cocktail smoker most of them used to create their signature cocktails. But there’s so much more to the Crafthouse by Fortessa Professional Barware by Charles Joly Stainless Steel and Glass Smoking Box than just the handheld smoker that provides deeper flavor in an old fashioned, made with rye or mezcal (we always prefer the latter).
Party hosts will also love that this can be used to smoke a variety of snacks for guests. Throw some delicious cheese cubes in it—I highly recommend using gouda from St. Maarten—and that charcuterie will go to the next level and have Rand and Nance from next door vowing to step up their own snack game.
When home bar space is limited, we need to think on our toes. A giant glass box isn’t conducive to keeping things simple, and a minimalist certainly doesn’t want to have large devices cluttering shelf and counter space. So, it’s important to find a style of cocktail smoker that not only aids in making a delicious drink, but also fits in a drawer.
The Taigin Cocktail Smoker Kit succeeds by covering the basic needs, while also providing a few extra perks that some of the fancier smokers don’t, such as including four different wood flavors. With that, mixologists will be able to mix and match, adding a little more authority and expertise to their performances.
One thing I’ve also learned from talented mixologists is that creating a fancy cocktail and putting on a show means more and more people will want one. That’s not ideal when guests are packing the lobby bar and you’re trying to keep the line moving and faces smiling. A device like the Homia Smoking Gun Wood Smoke Infuser is the solution for mixologists who need to move quickly, as this 14-piece kit still allows for a little flair, but makes creating something as delicious as a smoked mojito a total breeze.
Space isn’t ever an issue for mixologists who are also collectors, and I say that as a whisky lover with a few dozen bottles cluttering my home bar. When a smoked old fashioned is a regular pour in your home, it doesn’t hurt to have a cocktail smoker that becomes part of the décor, in addition to being durable and reliant. The Aged & Charred Store’s Smoke Barrel Kit succeeds here for its perfect design—it’s a whisky barrel, after all.
But best of all and most importantly, it produces a magnificent drink in one minute, so the home bartender better keep the travel stories just as concise.