How to Make a Smoked Cocktail Without Fire

One would think that after a whole week of terrible, dangerous air, I would be full of all the smoke, but something about the change of season makes me want a smoked cocktail. This is bad for me, but my (dull, perverted) heart wants what it wants.

However, I am not going to light anything on fire. I’m tired of fire and burning. Fortunately, there is a very easy way to add some scorched aroma to a cocktail (or lemonade) without flaming, and I’m not talking about liquid smoke.

I’m talking about the lapsang sushong, also known as smoked tea. This is black Chinese tea, traditionally smoked over a pine forest, and he is absolutely right. It tastes exactly as you would expect – rich, warm and peaty. It’s a wonderful tea – in fact, it’s the only tea I like to sweeten – but I’m obsessed with it like cocktail syrup.

All you have to do is brew a very strong cup of Lapsang sushong and then add some sugar to make the syrup. Once it has cooled, add it to any cocktail you think should have a slightly rich smoky character. I made a simple sour with gin and lemon and it turned out to be amazingly complex for such a simple cocktail. To make smoked tea cocktail syrup you will need:

  • 1 glass of water
  • 10 Lapsang souchong tea bags
  • 1 cup of sugar

Place the tea bags in an ovenproof dish or cup. You will need one that holds at least two cups of liquid. Bring a cup of water to a boil and immediately pour over the tea bags as soon as it boils. Cover and let sit for five minutes. After five minutes, remove the tea bags and set them aside until they are cool enough to touch. While they are cooling, add sugar to the hot tea and stir to dissolve. When the tea bags have cooled, squeeze the excess tea into the syrup and stir again. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

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