All The Tools for Smoky Cocktails at Home, According to a Professional

Luis Hernandez of Lost Hours in New York City explains the tools you need to churn out smoky cocktails from your home bar.

Smoked cocktails have taken the bar world by storm—they’re enjoyable both for flavor and showmanship. Broken down, though, the technique is actually less complicated than one might think. All you’ll need is a good vessel, your preferred cocktail’s ingredients, a cloche or container of some sort, and a device called a smoking gun. We asked Luis Hernandez of Lost Hours in New York City to break the concept down for us.

“Bacon is delicious, but smoked bacon is even better––cocktails are not so different. Smoking a drink is just a matter of flavor as you’re adding a separate layer that isn’t usually there,” Hernandez says. At Lost Hours, Hernandez’s current menu features a drink served over an ice cube made with smoked cacao shells, designed to help the drink evolve as it dilutes. Home experimentation, according to Hernandez, begins simply: “It's the easiest thing: you build the drink (try an Old Fashioned first), then put it into a container that has enough room to hold smoke, and then you smoke whatever you want into it, starting at around 10 seconds and going from there.” Smoking a built drink versus its individual components is ideal for initial experimentation—it incorporates the smoke element to an already-balanced cocktail, bypassing the guesswork of having to balance a cocktail with a pre-smoked spirit or modifier.

There are a few things to look for when shopping for a smoking gun or vessel. For Hernandez, versatility is key: “For me, the PolyScience smoking gun has always been a good, because of the long attachment and rubber connection to [the cloche]. It can also take a little bit of a beating, so if you fall in love with it, you can use it for a long time and it’ll last.”

Armed with this knowledge, you’re now ready to start experimenting with smoked cocktails at home. Here are three choice vessels for your endeavors.

PolyScience The Smoking Gun Pro Set with Glass Cloche and Woodchips

PolyScience The Smoking Gun Pro Set with Glass Cloche and Woodchips
Hernandez recommends this versatile, durable battery-powered gun by PolyScience and Breville.Amazon

Hernandez swears by this battery-powered smoking gun model, the product of a collaboration between PolyScience and Breville. Opt for the full set, which includes the gun, a glass cloche outfitted with a rubber port for the nozzle extension, and four different types of wood chips.

Crafthouse by Fortessa Professional Barware by Charles Joly Stainless Steel and Glass Smoking Box with Handheld Smoker

Crafthouse by Fortessa Professional Barware by Charles Joly Stainless Steel and Glass Smoking Box with Handheld Smoker
A smoking gun and glass box combo designed by bartender Charles Joly.Amazon

When bar tools are designed by actual bartenders, they’re bound to be functional (and often pleasing to the eye). Award-winning bartender Charles Joly is behind this beautiful glass smoking box and handheld smoker set, perfect for those looking to put on a show for guests.

Crafthouse by Fortessa Glass Smoking Cloche with Smoke Infusing Gun and Breville The Smoking Gun Pro 4 Piece Woodchip Set

Crafthouse by Fortessa Glass Smoking Cloche with Smoke Infusing Gun and Breville The Smoking Gun Pro 4 Piece Woodchip Set
Another striking cloche design from Charles Joly.Amazon

Here, we have another design by Charles Joly––a similar concept to the glass box option above, just differing in design and presentation (this option also comes with the same collection of Breville wood chips as the PolyScience set). Smoke your cocktails in front of a crowd inside the wooden base and glass hood combo, releasing a cloud of smoke in a flourish as you remove the top when finished.