How to Smoke Ice For Your Favorite Cocktail

5 from 3 votes
Jump to Recipe

Sharing is caring!

Yes, you can make Smoked Ice. Take smoked water, add to your favorite cocktail ice cube tray, and add to your favorite drinks. Yes, that’s right, smoked ice. We are not talking about liquid smoke, we’re talking about the real version of that.

Smoked ice from smoked water in a classic old fashioned cocktail.

We’ve talked about smoked ice before, but we thought we’d bring it up again because it’s that time of year. When you’re sick of the cold weather and want a nice warming drink, because bourbon warms the soul. True story.

I made this drink originally for Sean’s 40th birthday. So we’re bringing it back and making a video of it.

Sean’s favorite booze is bourbon (with whiskey a close second), and he’s a classic cocktail kind of a guy. Hence our play on a classic Old Fashioned.


  • Water – That’s it. Water and a smoker. Doesn’t even need to be fancy water. If you filter your water for normal drinking, then you should filter the water you plan to use for smoked ice.

What is Smoked Ice

Smoked ice is smoked water that has been exposed to wood smoke for a few hours and frozen in molds to make ice cubes. Using a smoker helps avoid the use of liquid smoke. The flavor is a slightly woody nose.

Liquid Smoke versus This Method

Liquid smoke is typically wood chips that have been burned at high heat and then the moisture and flavor is collected through condensers. After collection, the liquid can be further reduced. The issue is the high heat can give a bitter flavor (like poorly vented smoke).

If you search smoked ice cocktail you will no doubt stumble across smoking gun tools used by bartenders all over to infuse drinks with smoke. But who the heck needs a $150 smoking gun when you have the best tool of all — A SMOKER?!?!?!

I’m gonna save that $150 to stock my wine fridge and then use my smoker, a tool that I already have, to make a smoked cocktail using some very inexpensive ice cube molds.

Sean wrote a pretty thorough article on how to smoke ice for Palate Press. Definitely check it out since we’re only giving you the cliff notes version here.

How to Smoke Ice

  1. To start all you need is a large glass bowl or smoker-safe dish. The size of the bowl will depend on how much ice you want to make and the size of your trays or molds. We like to maximize by making a lot, and filling up all of our molds so we have the smoked ice cubes on hand for several weeks. In the picture below we used about 2 quarts of water.How to make smoked ice.
  2. Next, set your smoker to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (and no more than 225).  Water boils at 212 degrees, so you want to keep heat low to avoid boiling temperature otherwise the water will boil and steam out and we don’t want to lose any of that smoked water.
  3. Leave the smoked water on the smoker for 2-3 hours until you’re happy with the color. You can also taste test it for flavor.How to make smoked ice using a smoker
  4. When you’re happy with the flavor make sure to strain the water using a very fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to get any particles that may have found their way into the water.
  5. Then distribute into your ice cube molds and freeze.
Best Ice Cube Molds for Making Cocktails
Ice molds are a fun way to hold the shape.

Chef Tip

Make sure to smoke this on its own. Nothing else should be on the smoker. We don’t want raw (or cooked) meat splattering into our water. And think about the wood you use because it will be the primary flavoring agent to this smoked ice. We like cherry for the sweet flavor it gives (vs. something like mesquite or oak which would impart more of a campfire flavor). Any fruit wood makes a great option.

Best Ice Cube/Ball Molds for Cocktails

  • These molds, the ones in this picture, are our favorite. They’re pretty big, but they’re quite the show stoppers. They will melt slowly, giving you the opportunity to make a refill for the rest of the cube.
  • You can also get smaller rounds ones like these.
  • These are also fun if you want more of a perfect cube vs. a ball.

We have all three styles and they all work great.

Once they are frozen it’s cocktail time. For us that’s usually a Smoked Old Fashioned.

Smoked Ice Cocktail
Garnish with smoked cherries or an orange peel.

Frequently Asked Questions

how long to smoke water for ice

It takes no more than 2 hours at 200 degrees F for the smoke flavor to come through.

what is the best wood for smoked water for ice

We recommend a milder wood like cherry, apple, or any fruitwood for the sweeter flavor. Next would be nut woods like hickory and pecan. We do not suggest post oak or mesquite as it will tend to be very bitter and more campfire like in flavor.

Other Inspiring Cocktails

Explore all of our cocktail recipes or select from some of our favorites. Check out our article if looking for cocktail party ideas.

cookbook cover

Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
5 out of 5 Stars
San Francisco Book Review

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

If you like this cocktail recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes. 

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
A Smoked Ice Cocktail: A twist on a classic Old Fashioned made with Smoked Ice!
5 from 3 votes

How To Smoke Ice For Cocktails

Steps on smoking ice to garnish with your favorite cocktails.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Servings: 1 tray of ice


Smoked Ice

  • 2 quarts water


  • Prepare Smoker: Preheat smoker to 200 degrees (F).
  • Smoke: Place water in a large glass bowl or dish. Place on smoker for 2-3 hours until the color begins to change into a mild yellowish tint and you like the flavor (make sure to taste test at the 2 hour mark for flavor. You want a mild smoke influence. Remove.
  • Strain: Strain water using a fine mesh strainer and distribute into ice cube molds and freeze.



Let the drink sit for 1-2 minutes to let some of that smoked ice begin to melt and integrate into your drink. Some will add a dash of club soda or water to an Old Fashioned, BUT it’s not needed here because of that smoked ice. It will slowly melt and add incredible smoky flavor to your drink.


Calories: 3kcal | Sodium: 95mg | Calcium: 57mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: Cocktail, Drinks
Servings: 1 tray of ice
Calories: 3
Keyword: how to smoke water, smoked ice, smoked water
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

mary cressler headshot


About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.