Smoke and booze go hand in hand. Traditionally whiskey is made through five stages which are malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation. It is the malting phase where the peat is used to `power the kiln (the thermal insulated chamber which is used) to stop the germination process. In this phase, the type of the peat smoke and length of drying determines the smokiness of final spirit. While smoke has a key role to play for whisky, it is not the same for other alcohols, however a distinct smoky flavour in a cocktail is always welcome and that is exactly what is happening now. Smoke and booze go hand in hand – not to forget those cravings for smoking a cigarette (for smokers of course) after a nice smooth peg of your favourite poison.
Smoky cocktails or smoked cocktail are an instant hit with the connoisseurs while some of the smoked cocktails have made a mark for them, it’s more than often seen that restaurants have some regular smoky cocktails on their menu and some carry out festivals basis the customer demand and popularity.
Smoke House Deli Kolkata, is holding a smoked cocktail festival called ‘Alchemy’. The menu has got 7 smoked cocktails and if we go by the flavours of the zesty and refreshing cocktails that we had, one can be rest assured that all 7 are worth trying out.
Smoke House Deli introduced a new menu sometime back and thats worth trying
We started with House spices smoked sangria which is basically a combination of Red wine, Port wine, brandy, orange liqueur, orange juice and fresh fruits and had an assertive primary taste; while the addition of apple wood smoke struck a nice balance on the palette. Chunks of fresh fruits kept it refreshing and overall created the perfect tones in contrast to the slight smoky sour flavour.
We next hopped to Lapsang Souchong smoked Margarita. Lapsang Souchong is a variety of smoked black tea from China and perhaps often debated as the first black tea in history. The smokey flavour to this tea comes from the fact that the leaves are smoke dried over pinewood fires. The other ingredients used are tequila, egg white, and lime juice. This smoked margarita is infused with smoke from apple flavoured wood chips. It had a bit of tangy taste with a mild smokey impression and one has to sip this slowly to bask into the glory of the tequila.
Rob Roy is a classic cocktail whose origin goes back to almost 1894 and although this cocktail is similar to Manhattan, this is made exclusively with Scotch whisky. We were served Cherry wood smoked Rob Roy. This version was one of the most popular ones or perhaps the basic one which is made with Scotch, sweet vermouth, fresh orange and angostura bitters. Every bite of the fresh cherries soaked in the alcohol lifted the spirit. This one was a bit strong, however did leave a lasting impression.
We wish we had enough time in between to sip and snooze and more sip and snooze; but on a working day evening, that is a bit far-fetched dream. Surojit, the enthusiastic bartender, wanted us to taste the best which he had saved for the last. This was called the Misty apple sour. It is a combination of vodka, green apple and lime. The unique part of this cocktail is that it is served in a tall Collins glass with a lid and a straw. Unlike the other drinks where after the smoke is infused, the drink is poured out into a glass, this cocktail in particular had the smoke infused and trapped within the glass, thereby enhancing the smoke factor. This was our personal favourite for sure. With every sip, we got the tangy taste of the apple sour combined with a big hint of smoke, making it an explosive drink.
When it comes to one’s poison (alcohol), in this case there are several types, some love experimentation within the same vertical like different blends of whisky, flavours of Vodka, types of beer and then there are others who sticks to one particular brand and one drink (many people of my generation has Old Monk as their baptism drink and they prefer only that). And of course there are some who could experiment with any drink and any choice of spirit. No matter what kind of person you are, these smokey cocktails would without a doubt leave some kind of impression on you. It was great on us. So next time some smoked cocktail?
What is your favourite poison? Let me know in the comments section, let us get a little tipsy …..
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