In the current issue of GOURMET INSIDER®, we discuss barware and cocktail trends in the annual Bar Cart feature, which can be read digitally, here. As a companion to our story, we spoke with James Simmons, a chef and the cutlery manager at The Rolling Pin in Olympia, WA, to create two fall-inspired cocktails, based on the local trends he’s seeing in his area.
“Hand smokers and smoking guns are a hot item this year. They have been big in the bar scene for a while, but professional chefs and home cooks alike are learning that these handy tools add a ton of bold flavor to food and drinks quickly, and are quite simple (and fun) to use,” said Simmons. “They are also getting smaller and more widely produced, in turn becoming far more accessible. I think every kitchen should have one. Pair them with a brûlée torch for lighting, wood chips, and a nice glass cloche for the smoke to linger in, and you have an awesome setup to get started.”
Here, Simmons shares his recipes that feature the flavors of fall and showcase how to use a hand smoker to elevate the home cocktail.
Autumn Leaves: This cocktail brings together a well-rounded and balanced profile of classic fall flavors with delicate precision. Upscale meets rustic in this appetizing and versatile cocktail.
- 3/4 oz. Phillips Union Vanilla Whiskey
- 1/2 oz. Fernet Branca
- 1 1/2 oz. Fresh Apple Cider
- 2 dashes Black Walnut Bitters
- 1/2 tsp. Red Apple Balsamic
- Pie Spice Sugar
- Hickory Smoke
- Blood orange peel (garnish)
To make: Thoroughly mix white sugar with pie spice. Rub blood orange slice around the rim of chilled coupe glass, and coat in pie spice sugar in a shallow dish. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin packed with ice, and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into glass and garnish with blood orange peel. Smoke lightly with Hickory chips using a hand smoker and glass cloche.
The Northwest Squirrel: A sultry and luscious dessert cocktail. Smoked salt on the rim cuts the sweetness when desired, and enhances the bold depth of the savory nuts and coffee. Cinnamon gently rounds this out for full-circle flavor.
- 3/4 oz. Standard Proof Pecan Rye
- 3/4 oz. SQRRL Peanut Butter American Whiskey
- 1/4 oz. Lazzaroni Amaretto Liqueur
- 2 oz. Espresso Lungo
- 1 oz. Heavy cream
- Applewood-Smoked Salt
- Whipped Cream & Dash of Saigon Cinnamon
To make: Salt 1/2 the rim of an old-fashioned glass with smoked salt and fill with cracked ice. Combine whiskeys, Amaretto, and espresso in a shaker tin with ice, stir thoroughly, and strain into glass. Top with heavy cream, whipped cream, and a dash of cinnamon.