This Smoked Simple Syrup is an easy way to get a great smoky flavor into your favorite cocktails! This recipe can be made either with a handheld smoker appliance, or using a grill. Adding smoke to drinks is a trendy way to put a new spin on them, and it gives a great punch of flavor to your drinks!
Smoked cocktails are great to have in the fall and winter seasons, since the smoky flavor goes so well with aged spirits like whiskey or añejo tequila. The oaky flavor of these spirits is a great complement to the smoke. This syrup would be a delicious replacement for the maple syrup in my Black Heart Halloween Cocktail recipe!
Try out this Smoky Margarita for a new twist on a margarita using smoked syrup.
To make smoked simple syrup, you'll just need a few ingredients:
- Sugar - granulated white sugar works great. You can also use a natural sugar like Sugar in the Raw or demerara sugar.
- Water - filtered or bottled water.
- Wood chips - the flavor of the smoke will change subtly based on which type of wood chips you use. I've used applewood chips here. Hickory wood or cherry wood are also great choices.
Because you'll need some way to get the smoke into the syrup, equipment is important in this recipe. To make the syrup itself, you'll need a medium sized saucepan and a spoon or spatula.
Once the syrup is made, you'll need a large flat pan, a bottle to store the finished syrup, and a funnel to pour the syrup from the pan into the bottle.
To actually smoke the syrup, you'll need some kind of smoker appliance. I've used the Breville smoker, which I love because it's small and portable. It's also easy to concentrate the smoke and get a lot of flavor from a small amount of wood chips. You can repeat the smoking process with the Breville multiple times if you want a stronger flavor.
If you already have a smoker grill, like a Traeger Tailgater or Traeger portable smoker, I definitely suggest using that to make this syrup. The advantage of the Traeger is that you can get a continual stream of fresh smoke going over the syrup, which is going to result in a stronger smoke flavor overall.
If you have a regular barbecue grill, you can use a pellet smoker tube to convert it into a smoker grill.
If you are following a low-sugar or Keto diet, you can make this syrup with a sugar substitute in the syrup. My favorite sugar substitute is allulose, because it not only has the lowest glycemic impact, but it tastes a lot like sugar, and it thickens up the syrup on its own just like sugar. You can use 130 grams (⅔ cup) per 1 cup of water.
If you want to use erythritol instead, you will need to add in ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum to thicken up the syrup. Use 100 grams (½ cup) of erythritol per 1 cup of water.
You can change up your syrup by adding even more flavors. Here are a few ideas:
- Vanilla Smoked Syrup - add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract to your smoked syrup for a warm vanilla flavor.
- Cinnamon Smoked Syrup - while you're making the syrup, throw in a cinnamon stick while it cools. Take the stick out before adding the smoke.
- Lavender Smoked Syrup - add dried lavender to your sugar and water while making the syrup, and strain out the lavender after it cools and before adding the smoke. This will give a beautiful floral flavor that goes surprisingly well with the smoke!
- Maple Smoked Syrup - instead of making your own simple syrup, use maple syrup instead! Maple and smoke flavor are a perfect match.
Start out by making your simple syrup. Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then, turn down the heat and simmer for 3 minutes before letting it cool. More detailed instructions are in my other post (How to Make Simple Syrup).
Add your syrup to a large flat pan and let it cool. This will speed up the cooling process because it will spread the syrup out into a bigger layer. It will also allow more of the syrup to come in contact with the smoke.
The smoking process works best on cold simple syrup, because the cold temperature will allow more of the smoke particles to get into the syrup. So, once your simple syrup is cooled to room temperature, chill it in the fridge for a while before adding the smoke.
This next step is where the magic happens! The idea is to seal the cold syrup in with the smoke, so the smoke particles can get into the syrup and flavor it. With the Breville smoker, you can just top your pan with cling wrap, and seal the smoker tube on the edge.
Then, just use a lighter or kitchen torch to ignite the wood chips, and turn on the smoker so the smoke will go into the sealed pan setup.
If you're using a grill type of smoker, you don't have to worry about the cling film. Just set the pan inside the smoker grill and close up the grill itself.
Once the smoke is sealed in the pan, it doesn't take long for the particles to be absorbed into the syrup. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Then, you can either repeat the smoking process if you want the syrup to have a stronger flavor, or bottle up the syrup.
If you are using a smoker grill, you can let it smoke up to an hour if you want. It's up to you how strong of a smoke flavor you like!
When you're happy with the flavor of the syrup, use a funnel to add it to a resealable bottle. Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Hint: Don't forget to label your bottle with the date you made it, so you don't forget how long it's been in your fridge!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a couple different ways to add a smoked flavor to a cocktail. You can either smoke one or more of the ingredients, like the Smoked Simple Syrup in this recipe, or you can add smoke to the finished cocktail itself before serving. You can also add smoke to the serving glass before pouring in your cocktail for a less strong flavor. The aroma will cling to the glass instead of the drink itself.
If you are smoking one of your ingredients, it's all about the flavor. The charred smokiness adds a layer of flavor to your cocktail mix. If you are smoking the drink itself, it's not only about the smoke flavor, but also a really cool presentation.
Feel free to use store bought simple syrup if you'd like! Just refrigerate it before smoking it for the best flavor.
Smoked Simple Syrup
- Small saucepan
- Kitchen scale and/or measuring cups
- Large flat baking pan
- Cling film (if using handheld smoker)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- wood chips
Make the Simple Syrup
- Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan.
- Heat it up, stirring occasionally, until it starts to boil.
- Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it into a large flat baking pan to cool. This will help it cool faster and also provide a larger surface area for the smoke to contact the syrup.
- After the syrup is cooled to room temperature, place the pan into the fridge for at least a half hour. Chilling the syrup will help the smoke infuse faster.
Smoke the Syrup (Handheld smoker)
- If you are using a handheld smoker, seal the top of the baking pan with cling film. Then, lift up one little part of the film and insert the tube from the smoker. Seal up the cling film around the tube as best as you can.
- Add a pinch of the wood chips to the smoker and light them with a kitchen torch or long lighter. Turn the smoker's fan on so the smoke goes through the tube and into your sealed pan setup.
- When the pan setup is filled with smoke, take out the tube and quickly reseal the cling film. Let the syrup rest for about 5 minutes in the smoke.
- Repeat this smoking process as many times as you'd like to get a stronger flavor. Each time you will also get a slightly deeper color to the syrup.
Smoke the Syrup (Grill or Traeger type smoker)
- If you are using a grill or a dedicated smoker, add the pan directly to the grill.
- Add in the wood chips and light them up per the grill's instructions. Then, let the pan smoke for one to two hours.
Bottle and Store
- Pour the syrup through a funnel and into your resealable storage bottle.
- Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Discard at any sign of mold.