How to Craft a Smoked Manhattan: Elevating a Classic

How to Craft a Smoked Manhattan: Elevating a Classic

The Manhattan cocktail, a time-honored favorite, has long stood as a testament to classic mixology. Renowned for its rich blend of whiskey and vermouth, this iconic drink is a staple in the world of sophisticated beverages. At Smoked Fashioned, we've taken this classic a step further by infusing it with a layer of complexity and aroma through the art of smoking. 

This guide will take you through the process of crafting a Smoked Manhattan, a drink that embodies tradition while embracing innovation.

Ingredients for a Smoked Manhattan:

  • 2 ounces of bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • An orange peel for garnish
  • Wood chips for smoking (preferably oak or hickory)

The Art of Smoking:

Before we dive into the mixing, let's talk about the smoking process. Smoking a cocktail isn't just about adding a smoky flavor; it's about enhancing the whiskey whiskey's inherent qualities and introducing a new sensory experience. For the Smoked Manhattan, we recommend using oak or hickory chips, as they impart a rich, deep smoke that complements the bourbon or rye'srye's natural flavors.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Prepare the Smoke: Begin by placing your chosen wood chips in our Smoked Fashioned cocktail smoker. Light the chips with a butane torch until they smolder, producing a steady stream of smoke.
  2. Mix the Ingredients: In a mixing glass, combine the bourbon (or rye), sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters. This blend of ingredients speaks to the soul of an Old Fashioned, yet it's distinctively Manhattan in its character.
  3. Stir and Chill: Add ice to the mixing glass. Stir the mixture gently but thoroughly, chilling the drink while preserving its silky texture.
  4. Infuse with Smoke: Cover the mixing glass with a lid or a coaster and funnel the smoke from the smoker into the glass. Allow the cocktail to sit for a minute, letting the smoke infuse the drink.
  5. Strain and ​​ Serve: Strain the smoked mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. A single large ice cube is ideal, as it chills the drink without diluting its rich flavors too quickly.
  6. Garnish: Express the oil of an orange peel over the glass, then rub it around the rim before dropping it into the drink. This citrusy note adds a fresh contrast to the smoky depth.


smoked manhattan cocktail


Why This Recipe Works:

In a Smoked Manhattan, the bourbon or rye forms the robust backbone, offering warmth and complexity. The sweet vermouth brings a touch of sweetness and herbal nuances, while the Angostura bitters tie everything together with their aromatic spice. The smoking process elevates these flavors, adding a layer of smoky sophistication. It's a dance of elements – the whiskey's fiery heat, the vermouth's sweetness, and the aromatic bitters – all harmoniously enhanced by the subtle yet profound infusion of smoke. 

This cocktail isn't just a drink; it's an experience, a journey through flavors and aromas that transform a simple Manhattan into a Smoked Manhattan, a familiar and thrillingly new drink.

Tips for Perfecting Your Smoked Manhattan:

  • Choosing Your Whiskey: While bourbon is a popular choice for its sweetness and vanilla notes, rye whiskey can add a spicy, edgier profile to your Smoked Manhattan. Experiment to find your perfect match.
  • The Right Wood Chips: Different woods impart different flavors. Oak offers a traditional smokiness, while hickory provides a stronger, more assertive smoke flavor. Applewood or cherry wood can add a sweeter, fruitier smoke.
  • Smoke Intensity: Adjust the smoking time to suit your taste. A longer infusion will intensify the smoky flavor, while a shorter one will provide a subtler touch.
  • Stir, Don't Don't Shake: Stirring gently ensures a smooth texture without over-diluting the drink.
  • The Garnish: An orange peel adds a citrusy brightness that complements the smoky and whiskey flavors. It's a simple touch that makes a big difference.


Crafting a Smoked Manhattan is more than just following a recipe; it's about understanding and appreciating the interplay of whiskey, vermouth, and smoke. It's a nod to the time-honored cocktail-making traditions while embracing modern mixology's innovative spirit. With this recipe, you're not just making a drink – you're creating a moment, an experience to savor and remember.

At Smoked Fashioned, we're committed to bringing you the tools and knowledge to elevate your home bar experience. Whether you're a seasoned mixologist or a curious beginner, our smoker kits and expert advice are here to guide you on your journey through the world of smoked cocktails. So, grab your smoker and ingredients, and let's raise a glass to the timeless art of the perfect drink.