Infusing liquor is the secret to a lot of great cocktails. You can add rosemary to rum. You can add beef to rye whiskey. The possibilities are endless, but one thing is constant. It takes a long time. Days—even weeks—sealed in a jar.
Wood smoke evokes all kinds of wonderful things. A campfire as a kid. A pit full of coals at a great barbecue joint. The aroma is intoxicating on its own, but bottled up—and stirred into a drink—it’s indescribable. Expert barman Sother Teague showed us how a smoke infusion can give a cocktail a delicious twist.[jump]
Most of the world’s ice cubes are cloudy, soft, and weak. These hazy rocks are less dense, and they melt faster, leaving your drink watered down and terrible. Plus, opaque ice is just ugly.
I unscrew the top of the small, clouded vial in front of me, and siphon a few drops of the smoky-smelling liquid inside into a dropper before dabbing them on my wrist. I lick, and the burning sensation strikes instantly. Just as I begin to think, "My god, what have I done?" it backs off, leaving only a subtle smolder.