The best cocktail smoker we tested was the Breville Smoking Gun Pro (view on Williams-Sonoma), which won top marks for its quality construction and its versatility. If dramatic presentation is what you're looking for, the Crafthouse by Fortessa Cocktail Smoking Box (view on Amazon) can't be beat for visuals.
Adding smoke to cocktails has been a trend in craft bars for more than a minute now, but it’s not just a gimmick—it’s a method that can add some serious flavor to drinks. Although the technique might seem a bit intimidating for novices, it’s actually quite simple if you have the right tools. If you’re going to try it, remember that using cold smoke is key, because hot smoke from a grill or a barbecue smoker can actually cook the drink. Most bartenders use a gun-style infuser and a cloche (a dome-type device, often made of glass) to impart a dose of smoke to mostly-complete drinks before serving. However, there are a few other methods.
According to Sean O’Connell, bartender and brand ambassador for Australian whisky brand Starward, you want to “build the cocktail with dilution first.” The next step, he explains, is to "smoke the cocktail before you add the last bit of ice. The last step should be ice and garnish."
Another option, according to O’Connell, is to smoke individual ingredients first, because it increases the surface area for the smoke to penetrate. Also, as you experiment, consider smoking the garnish or the water you use to make ice for a more subtle experience. We love smoked salt mixed with a modest amount of chipotle pepper on the rim of a margarita.
As you experiment, you may discover that less is more. Start off using a modest amount of smoke until you sort out the level of smoke you and your guests find pleasing. Most folks don’t want their cocktail to taste like it was served in an ashtray (though lovers of Islay Scotch or Rauchbier may disagree!).
Here we bring you the best cocktail smokers:
Best Overall: Breville Smoking Gun Pro
Materials: Silicone, plastic, aluminum | Dimensions: 5.75"x3.75"x6.75" | Power: Four AA batteries | Fuel Source: Wood chips
Who else recommends it? Food & Wine and BestReviews both picked the Breville Smoking Gun Pro.
What do buyers say? 96% of 600+ Amazon reviewers rated it 4 stores or above.
Highly versatile, Breville's the Smoking Gun Pro may be designed for those with elevated culinary skill sets, but it’s also great for those who want to embark on some playful experimentation. Powered by four AA batteries, the massive burn chamber makes it easy to load and gives the user enough material to smoke several cocktails in one go. The flexible silicone hose makes it easy to point the smoke where you want it, and variable speeds allow the home bartender to add a gentle whiff up or increase the smoke level to a more intense setting. Both the stainless steel barrel and the burn chamber are dishwasher safe and pop out for easy cleanup.
Price at time of publish: $150
If you are making several drinks at once, it is possible to smoke big-batch cocktails. O’Connell recommends pouring all ingredients into a steam pan and covering it with foil. Peel a corner of tin foil back and fill the pan with smoke using the smoking gun. Then, wrap the whole thing tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much smoke suits your taste. Batches without fresh juice can sit longer.
Best Showpiece: Crafthouse by Fortessa Cocktail Smoking Box
Materials: Glass, Stainless steel, Black walnut | Dimensions: 11.5"x12"x12.6" | Power: AA batteries | Fuel Source: Wood chips
Here's a showstopper smoker where form takes precedence over function. Sure, the smoker tech is cool, boasting ample power and capacity to impart a ton of smoky flavor. But this collaboration between renowned bartender Charles Joly’s brand Crafthouse Cocktails and tableware maker Fortessa is simply a stellar way to present drinks—either for your enjoyment or to add some serious drama when serving a cocktail to a guest. The glass box is hemmed in with stainless steel, creating a showpiece that will elevate the look of any home bar.
Price at time of publish: $299
Best Low-Tech: Smoke Boards Smoked Cocktail Kit
Materials: Glass, White oak | Dimensions: 12"x9"x5" | Power: AA batteries | Fuel Source: Wood chips
Smoke Boards' kit uses a different, low-tech method to add smoke to a cocktail. The user takes some of the wood chips—the kit includes pecan, apple, and cherry—and places them on a wooden board. The next step is to fire the chips with a torch (you’ll want to be careful here, and perhaps don't let your children see where you store it after you’re done). After the chips begin to combust, the bartender places a large mason jar over the burning wood to collect the smoke, and then mixes the cocktail in that very jar.
Price at time of publish: $100
Best Starter Kit: MITBAK Portable Handheld Cold Smoking Gun with Dome Lid and Woodchips
Materials: Silicone, plastic, aluminum | Dimensions: 17.5"x12.2"x5.2" | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery | Fuel Source: Wood chips
This cold-smoking kit from MITBAK is affordable and contains everything you'll need to start smoking cocktails right off the bat. In the box, you’ll find a smoking gun that fires up with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, a domed cloche, wood chips, and a detachable hose... as well as a charging cable and a tweezer to help remove debris from the burn chamber, which is detachable for easier cleanup. The smoke infuser fan conveniently blows at three speeds to control the amount of output. (Note for home bartenders: while the kit does include a cloche, it can’t accommodate tall glasses. So if you're someone who makes a lot of cocktails stemmed glassware, you’ll want to pick up a smoking kit with a bit more height.)
Price at time of publish: $90
Best for Advanced Smoking: 100% Chef Super-Aladin Professional Food Smoker
Materials: Aluminum | Dimensions: 10.2" length | Power: batteries (not included) | Fuel Source: Wood chips
While the 100% Chef’s Super Aladín looks more like something you might find in the closet of a college dorm room than in a high-end commercial kitchen, this smoker is a chef’s dream. Featuring a large combustion tank for a longer smoking time, the Aladín allows the generous home bartender to whip up a large batch of drinks in one go. It also features an inner chamber, allowing the addition of aromatics that will enhance the smoke with extra flavor. The brand also offers its own Jack Daniels-infused wood chips, plus various-sized cloches for different applications.
Price at time of publish: $264
Best Portable: Oklahoma Joe’s Cocktail Smoking Box
Materials: White oak, Stainless steel | Dimensions: 5.5"x5.5"x6.5" | Power: Torch (not included) | Fuel Source: Wood chips (not included)
Constructed from the same American white oak that gets used in the production of bourbon barrels, this handsome little box from grill manufacturer Oklahoma Joe's is the perfect choice for the outdoorsy bartender who wants to smoke cocktails out in the wilderness. Besides the drink itself, you'll also need to provide your own wood chips (as well as your own lighter or torch), but everything else you'll need is included: the sturdy wooden box, plus a tray that slides out of the bottom to hold your chips. While the compact size means that this unit only holds one drink at a time, that just gives you more time to kick back and enjoy the great outdoors.
Price at time of publish: $59
Breville's the Smoking Gun Pro (view at Walmart) is a powerful and versatile smoking gun that's perfect for home bartenders looking for high-quality, smoke-infused cocktails, and it works great for home chefs, too. If you're looking for a complete kit that includes everything from the smoking gun to the cloche to the wood chips, we recommend the MITBAK Cocktail Smoker with Dome Lid (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in a Cocktail Smoker
The least expensive smokers tend to be powered by simple AA batteries, but some can connect via USB, and others have rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The power source will have likely factor into how long you can work with the smoker before it needs a charge.
If it's important that you can take the smoker on the go with you, whether it's to use at a friend's house or take on vacation, you'll want one that's easy to pack up and carry. Other models are more about presentation, and are probably best left behind the home bar—until it's time to pull them out with a flourish that suits the dramatic process of smoking.
Smokers with variable speeds will enable you to control the amount and intensity of the smoke that comes wafting out over your cocktail. Some smokers come with all the accessories, and some don't. You might also consider how easy it is to take it apart to clean it, as well as whether or not it needs to be washed by hand or it can go in the dishwasher.
Are cocktail smokers worth it?
For the serious home bartender and cocktail enthusiast, a smoker is a nice tool to have. (It also makes a great gift!) You can buy a simple cocktail smoker at a relatively inexpensive price, or you can easily find more sophisticated models if that's your preference.
What do they put in cocktails to make them smoke?
The smoke is typically created by burning wood chips of various types, but other ingredients can play a part in the process: you might choose to use tea, citrus peels, or even cinnamon to add a little complexity to the aroma and flavor of the cocktail by infusing the smoke with these elements. Don't forget ice, of course, which creates a subtle smoky effect once it melts.
What are the best cocktails to smoke?
Cocktails based on whiskey are the most popular cocktails to smoke, but lots of other cocktails with spirit bases other than whiskey also work well, too. Try an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, or even a Negroni. A smoky Martini is worth a sip, and a Bloody Mary benefits from a little bit of smoke, too.
How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ease of use, material, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Nicholas McClelland is a spirits writer whose work has appeared in Men’s Journal, Fatherly, and InsideHook. His bar is deep with rare single malts, hard-to-find bourbons, and ryes, but he doesn't believe there's anything too precious to share with friends.
The Best Cocktail Smokers for Great Drinks at Home. Food & Wine. https://www.foodandwine.com/lifestyle/kitchen/best-cocktail-smokers
BEST COCKTAIL SMOKERS. BestReviews. https://bestreviews.com/kitchen/tools/best-cocktail-smokers