To end the week of smoking - and what a way to bring in the New Year! - I went a tad more complicated in hopes of a subtler smoke flavor. Basically, I took the leftover citrus peel from the previous experiment and used it to make:
Smoked-Citrus Simple Syrup
Cherry-Smoked Blood Orange and Lemon Peels
1 C Water
1 C Caster Sugar
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
After cooling, I used the simple syrup in a bourbon old fashioned.
2 t Smoked-citrus Simple Syrup
2 dashes Number 11 Holiday Bitters
Blood Orange Slice
In a lowball glass over a single large ice cube, add the bitters, the simple syrup, the seltzer, then the bourbon, pouring each gently over the ice. Jam the orange down the side of the glass, then stir it all gently.
This drink turned out to be one of my favorites. It had a pine-cone smell, along with the citrus, and a delicate woody finish.
In the end, I arrived back where I started, at the Old Fashioned, but with a better variation where the smoke actually figures in, but doesn't over-power the drink. All in all, a great week for science!
Many thanks to my friend Chris Brook for the loan of the smoker. I paid the debt with a flask of smoked white vermouth and a bottle of Number 11 Holiday Bitters, so he can replicate some of these recipes with the proper ingredients.
If you try any of these at home, let me know how yours turn out. Or, better yet, let's get together and share the experiment.