Whisky cocktails have been created over the decades, with some becoming staples, and some gaining popularity across nations. Just as there are some whisky cocktails, which have been much loved since way before most of us even became of legal drinking age, there are some which are comparatively new, but have managed to become sensations among whisky lovers. Among this new breed of whisky cocktails, is the Smoke Signals cocktail, which incorporates smoked ice as one of the key ingredients.
Smoke Signals was created by premiere mixologist Evan Zimmerman in the year 2008. This whisky cocktail consists of a sweet, nutty pecan syrup, a dash of amontillado sherry, whisky and a heady nose of smoked ice. The three core ingredients, pecans, sherry and whisky, are little bits of Zimmerman’s childhood in Virginia, which he combines in this clever concoction, allowing us to have a taste of it. And we love what we taste. Sipping a glass of Smoke Signals, is just like sipping Jack Daniels in front of a blazing bonfire. This is one whisky cocktail you have to try before you die.
Mix your own Smoke Signals
Fill a wide metal loaf pan with water for your smoked ice, and let it rest in a closed chamber like a barbeque, with 2 cups of smoking pecan (or hickory) wood chips. The greater the surface area of the pan the better the infusion of smoke. You are free to leave the water resting in the smoke for even an hour or more, because the longer you have, the better the smokiness your ice will have. Once done, let it freeze in an ice tray, while you prepare the rest.
Bring 1 cup water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, and keep stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Then add 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer until the syrup tastes like pecans. This should take about 12 minutes. Then you can strain the syrup, discard the pecans and let it chill until cold, for about 2 hours.
Pour 5 tablespoons of whisky, 3 tablespoons of sherry, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons of pecan syrup in cocktail shaker. Fill it up with plain ice cubes, cover and shake until cold. Divide the mixture between 2 rock glasses. Repeat the same process with 5 more tablespoons of whisky, 3 tablespoons of sherry, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of pecan syrup, and ice. Place 1 smoked ice chunk in each glass and serve.
At a time when spiffy new cocktails are in vogue, revelling in the past is often a welcome change. After all, even the most foamed and smoked, avant-garde cocktail bars also rave over the classics. Why? Because the best of vintage cocktails have been groomed so perfectly over decades that they never become obsolete. Old is gold indeed.
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