The Smoked Manhattan

The Manhattan is a timeless cocktail that has been enjoyed by cocktail enthusiasts for over a century. But have you ever wondered how you can take this classic drink to the next level? Enter the smoked Manhattan. By infusing the cocktail with the rich flavors of wood smoke, you can elevate the taste and create a truly unforgettable drinking experience.

Choosing the Right Wood Chips

To begin your journey into the world of smoked , you'll need to choose the right wood chips. For a Manhattan, we recommend cherry wood chips. Their sweet and fruity aroma pairs beautifully with the red and cocktail cherry in the drink. However, if you don't have cherry wood chips on hand, don't worry. Oak, pecan, and apple are all excellent alternatives that will add their own unique flavors to the cocktail.

Preparing the Glass

Before you start mixing your cocktail, it's important to prepare your glass for smoking. Wet the inside of your cocktail glass to help the smoke cling to the sides and enhance the flavor. A little moisture goes a long way in creating a truly memorable experience.

Infusing the Smoke

Now it's time to infuse your cocktail with the enticing aroma of wood smoke. Light the wood chips on a heat-safe board, allowing them to smolder and produce aromatic smoke. Once the chips are lit, place the empty cocktail glass upside-down over the smoldering chips. This will allow the smoke to permeate the glass and infuse its flavor.

Creating the Perfect Manhattan

While the glass is being smoked, it's time to prepare your Manhattan. The classic recipe calls for a combination of or , sweet vermouth, and a dash of aromatic bitters. Mix these ingredients together in a shaker or mixing glass, ensuring they are well combined.

Finishing Touches

Once your glass has absorbed the desired amount of smoke, carefully remove it from the wood chips. It's now time to pour your perfectly mixed Manhattan into the smoked glass. The smoky aroma will mingle with the flavors of the cocktail, enhancing every sip.

Savoring the Experience

As you take your first sip of the smoked Manhattan, you'll be greeted with a symphony of flavors. The wood smoke adds depth and complexity to the drink, enhancing the natural sweetness of the bourbon or rye whiskey. Each sip becomes an experience in itself, as the smoky undertones dance on your palate.

Experimenting with Flavors

The beauty of smoked cocktails lies in their versatility. While the cherry wood chips complement the traditional Manhattan ingredients, don't be afraid to experiment with different woods and aromatics. Applewood can add a touch of sweetness, while oak can impart a robust and earthy flavor. Don't be afraid to let your creativity run wild and discover new flavor combinations that will tantalize your taste buds.

Smoking a Manhattan is a simple yet effective way to elevate this classic cocktail to new heights. By infusing the glass with the flavors of wood smoke, you can create a sensory experience that will leave a lasting impression. So gather your ingredients, fire up the wood chips, and enjoy the rich and smoky goodness of a perfectly crafted smoked Manhattan. Cheers!

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What Wood Is Best For Smoking Manhattan?

When it comes to smoking a Manhattan cocktail, the choice of wood can greatly enhance the flavors and aroma of the drink. While there are several options available, cherry wood chips are highly recommended to complement the red vermouth and cocktail cherry in the cocktail. However, if cherry wood is not readily available, other types of wood such as oak, pecan, and apple can also be used.

Here is a breakdown of the different wood options and their characteristics:

1. Cherry Wood: Cherry wood chips impart a mild and fruity flavor to the Manhattan cocktail. It adds a subtle sweetness that pairs well with the vermouth and cherry garnish, enhancing the overall taste experience.

2. Oak Wood: Oak is a classic choice for smoking cocktails, as it provides a rich and robust flavor. It adds a touch of smokiness and depth to the Manhattan, enhancing its complexity.

3. Pecan Wood: Pecan wood chips offer a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, which can complement the flavors of the cocktail. It adds a unique twist to the traditional Manhattan, giving it an interesting flavor profile.

4. Apple Wood: Apple wood chips provide a delicate and slightly sweet flavor to the cocktail. It can add a subtle fruity note that pairs well with the other ingredients in the Manhattan.

To summarize, while cherry wood chips are the recommended choice for smoking a Manhattan cocktail, oak, pecan, and apple wood can also be used to add different flavor profiles to the drink. Ultimately, the choice of wood depends on personal preference and the desired taste experience.


The smoked Manhattan recipe brings a unique and elevated twist to the classic cocktail. By incorporating wood chips, such as cherry, oak, pecan, or apple, you can enhance the flavor profile of the drink, creating a more complex and enjoyable experience. The process of smoking the glass adds depth and richness to the cocktail, making it a standout choice for cocktail enthusiasts looking to elevate their mixology skills.

The use of wood chips allows for a range of flavor profiles to be imparted onto the drink. For instance, cherry wood chips can complement the red vermouth and cocktail cherry in the Manhattan, enhancing the overall taste. Oak, pecan, and apple chips are also excellent choices, each offering their own distinctive flavors that can enhance the cocktail in different ways.

To smoke a glass, simply prepare your cocktail in a shaker or mixing glass, wet the cocktail glass, and light the wood chips on a heat-safe board. Place the empty cocktail glass upside-down over the chips to allow the flavors to infuse. Once the glass has absorbed the desired amount of smoke, pour the cocktail into the smoked glass and it is ready to be enjoyed.

Smoking a drink not only adds an element of sophistication and visual appeal but also improves the taste by adding layers of flavor. For example, using applewood smoke dust can make whiskey taste sweeter, providing a unique twist to the traditional Manhattan recipe.

The smoked Manhattan recipe is a fantastic way to elevate your cocktail experience. By experimenting with different wood chips, you can customize the flavor profile of the drink to suit your preferences. So, why not give it a try and impress your guests with a truly unique and delicious smoked Manhattan cocktail? Cheers!

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.