Smoked Ice Recipe Amps Up Any Cocktail

"If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone."Robert Fulghum

Impress your guests by adding a smoky touch to your cocktail menu.

This may be one of the coolest and, at the same time, one of the goofiest ideas I've ever had. But it's not too surprising if you've read my bio and remember that I used to drink for a living. Regardless, you absolutely must try this.

The brainstorm hit me after reading the research by Dr. Blonder on thermophoresis (how smoke is attracted to cold objects). I was working on perfecting my Bloody Mary recipe, and I wondered if I could amp it up by figuring out how to create homemade smoked ice.

So I put some ice in a pan on my MAK 2 Star pellet smoker because it burns only wood. After it melted I dipped in a finger and tasted it. Eureka! Not an overpoweringly strong smoke, elegant, delicate, very much like the scent of smoke from the smoker itself.

For comparison, I added a few drops of grocery store liquid smoke to water and tasted it. Liquid smoke is made by burning hardwood, condensing the smoke in a still, and then dissolving it in water or alcohol. It was authentic tasting in that it tasted like wood smoke, but it was a bit harsh, more like sucking on a piece of smoking wood. It's the same taste as cheap ham.

Placeholder

Finally, I tried using The Smoking Gun, a gizmo that looks like a hash pipe (remember, I went to college in the '60s). There's a thimble sized mesh bowl in which you place sawdust, a motor that pulls air across the smoldering powdered wood, and a tube that blows it into whatever you want. Chefs use it to blow smoke into a covered pan of food, like raw salmon. It's pretty clever, but just don't leave it on the seat of your car if you get pulled over.

Alas, it does not blow very hard and it could not displace the water in the jar if the hose was submerged more than 1/2". It just stopped bubbling. The key is to blow smoke into the jar while it's covered in plastic wrap (you insert the hose just under the plastic) then keep it covered to trap the smoke. 

Placeholder

I then put all three smoked waters in ice cube trays and froze them. As you can see, the melted ice had a slight coloration. After they froze, I tasted all three. The ice cubes created in the smoker were by far the best.

It was not long before I had the cubes in Bourbon, Cognac, and Bloody Marys. It worked beautifully in all cases, and without a question made the best Bloody Mary I've ever tasted.

When I mentioned smoked ice on Greg Rempe's podcast, The BBQ Central Show during my monthly appearance, a listener sent me a link to an article in the New York Times on the subject. It described how bartenders are adding smoke to their drinks by other means, but none of them had discovered this simple technique.

At at Mistral Kitchen in Seattle, Amber Johannson makes and Old-Fashioned by filling a decanter with smoke from the Smoking Gun, then pours in the drink, and then pours it over the rocks.

At Mr. Brown's Columbia Room in Washington, a drink called Ghost Dance is made by lighting aromatic sweetgrass and a star anise pod under an upside down rocks glass which is then filled with the drink.

Zohn and Ethan Terry at AQ in San Francisco lit a bay leaf with a torch (a match won't do?) and quickly pour ice over the burning shrubbery. In goes the cocktail.

I think you'll like my method better. And it's easier.

Method

1) Make a bunch of ice cubes the normal way. You can smoke water, but ice has more surface area and smoke clings to cold surfaces.

2) Dump them into a shallow pan. High side will block the flow of smoky air. But the ice will melt, so make sure the sides are high enough to hold the water.

3) Set up your smoker, gas grill or charcoal grill for 2-zone indirect cooking with smoke. Keep the temp low, about 225°F, and smoke for about an hour. The ice will melt.

4) Freeze the smoked water in ice cube trays, or pour the smoked water into a zipper bag, freeze it, then pound it with a hammer or sauce pan.

5) Keep the cubes in the freezer until needed. Add them to drinks in the normal fashion, and let me know what creative things you find to do with them.

smoked iced cognac

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

What people say about us

"The world’s leading outdoor cooking resource." Larry Olmsted, Forbes.com

"An amazing compendium of barbecue knowledge." Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin

"I was crowned World Brisket Champion at the Jack Daniels World Championships using your Big Bad Beef Rub. Your site has played a pivotal role in my development." John Lattuca, WeekendWarriorBBQ, Montreal, Canada

"This meal was as memorable as my first sex, only better." Marie Overholt, San Francisco, CA

"The BBQ community is so extremely fortunate to have someone as passionate and articulate as you." Frank Ostini, Chef Winemaker, Hitching Post II Restaurant & Winery, Buellton, CA

"I adapted your brisket rub recipe this summer and my customers love it (8,000 pounds served in 6 months)! My brisket even won 'best beef' in the Sonoma County Harvest Fair." Chef Larry Vito, BBQ Smokehouse, Sebastapol, CA

"Meathead is the best writer covering this part of the culinary world." John Markus, Producer, BBQ Pitmasters TV show

"The Rosetta Stone of BBQ." Bill Lamb

"I got laid last night because of your pastrami" Name withheld for obvious reasons

"Knowledgeable, smart, hilarious, and self-effacing." Laurel Stone

"I have worked as a professional cook in high end French restaurants for several years, so when I hit the internet looking for some BBQ info, I was really pleased to find an in depth and expansive site that had all the tips I was looking for." Aaron Ettlin, Portland, OR

"A Famous Dave's commercial came on claiming the best ribs in the world, and my honey shook his head and said, 'nope, it's right here.' Many, many thanks!" Red Taylor, San Francisco, CA

"We had a fantastic season winning two Grand Championships and five Reserve Grand Championships. I always appreciate referring to your site. Thanks." Steve, Grills Gone Wild, IA

"I have always loved cooking ribs but with our new gas grill they were never as good as charcoal. Well that all changed last night when I made the greatest ribs I have ever tasted. My wife wanted to know if I bought them somewhere and then claimed I cooked them myself." Allen Nicley, Mont Alto, PA

"The Memphis Dust and the pulled pork are excellent! I had to dang near run people out of my house!" Aswad Johnson

"I was about to buy a new smoker. After reading your article about setting up a horizontal smoker, I decided to try rehabilitating something the previous owner of my house left in the backyard. Total investment: $100. I figure I saved at least $500!" Coleman Shelton, Calvert City, KY

"Amazingribs.com is the most information packed barbecue site known to man." Pitmaster and BBQ Columnist George Hensler

"AmazingRibs.com is the world's go-to place for a barbecue treasure house of reliable information." Ardie "Remus Powers" Davis, author of numerous barbecue books

"This is my new go-to method for prime rib." Candy Weaver, President, Kansas City Barbeque Society

"We've won five Grand Championships and two Reserve Championships in the past three months. Learned much about BBQ from you and wanted to give you credit." Harry Soo, SlapYoDaddyBBQ.com

"The Alton Brown of Que." Joe Mizrahi, Smokin' Joe's, NYC

"I have always loved to travel and eat. Life became boring when I had to give up my worldly adventures. Thanks to you I now love to cook. I am now having adventures at home in my kitchen and my back yard. I am no longer bored, and my large family is grateful too. Thank you so much." Dugan Hoeflinger, Tucson, AZ

"I am in the process of opening a cafe and thought your simple sweet sour slaw is an amazing winner." James Murray, Toronto

"I had two ribs and my boyfriend ate the other 3 1/2 pounds. He couldn't stop to talk. He had to bring a box of tissues to the table because these ribs are so good they make him weep. He tells me that my ribs have deepened his love for me. Well, fine, but I know that just means he wants more ribs." Nancy J. Mostad, Minnesota


Placeholder

Related articles

Placeholder

Placeholder

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazonhttps://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

...some HTML for the first variant...

Placeholder

Placeholder

Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you love barbecue and grilling, get a FREE 30-day membership in our Pitmaster Club. We can up your game.

  • FREE 30 day trial membership.
  • Sneak previews of Meathead’s new book.
  • We block ads from members.
  • Real community. No politics. No flame wars.
  • Monthly newsletter.
  • Video seminars with famous pitmasters.
  • Weekly podcasts with Greg Rempe.
  • Weekly BBQ cartoons by Jerry King.
  • Comprehensive Temperature Guide Magnet ($10 retail).
  • Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers worth up to $2000.
  • Discounts on products we love.
  • Support for AmazingRibs.com!

Lookit what our members are cooking:


Post comments and questions below

Placeholder

1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

 

Click to ask questions and make comments