Cinnamon Smoked Bourbon Maple Old Fashioned

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Smoke need not be limited to southern barbecue cuisine, although my mouth waters just thinking about that deliciously classic option.  In recent years, it has become a trendy component in every dinner course from appetizers, to soup, to dessert.  But it is often over-used and can easily dominate the flavor profile of an entire dish, rendering all other ingredients imperceptible. Here, I’ve added it as a hint of depth – a layer of cozy, smoky goodness to one of my favorite drinks, a bourbon old fashioned.  I believe you will find it equally appealing to sip while snuggled up to a roaring fire on a blustery winter night, toasting family and friends throughout joyous holiday celebrations, or watching fireflies in the moonlight beside a backyard fire in the ever so slight chill of a summer evening.


Prep Time:  7 minutes

Yield:  1 drink

Dietary Specifications:  Vegan, Gluten Free



1 cinnamon stick

1 strip of orange peel, approximately 3 in x ½ in

2oz Knob Creek Bourbon

4 tsp Gustare Hickory Smoked Balsamic Vinegar

1½ tsp Runamok Cinnamon Vanilla Pure Maple Syrup

4 drops Angostura orange bitters

5-6 ice cubes

Garnish(optional):  1 cinnamon stick, 1 orange peel, 1 black cherry on a bamboo skewer



  1. Place cinnamon stick and orange zest strip on a metal sheet tray. Be certain to have your rocks glass close at hand.  Use a kitchen or blow torch (yes, that is what I have always used as a fine dining pastry chef, thanks to Home Depot) to char the orange and cinnamon stick until blackened.  A slight flame is just fine, and both will emit smoke.  Extinguish flame and move very quickly to place overturned rocks glass completely over the charred peel and cinnamon stick to capture as much smoke as possible.  Allow smoke infusion for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add bourbon, Gustare Hickory Smoked Balsamic VinegarRunamok Cinnamon Vanilla Pure Maple Syrup, bitters, and ice cubes to shaker. Shake vigorously to blend flavors well.
  3. Turn infused glass upright. Rub blackened orange peel followed by the charred cinnamon stick around rim of glass.  Be sure to allow remnants of blackened residue to remain on the rim.  Squeeze blackened orange peel over glass to release essence, and drop into glass.  Use charred cinnamon stick to briefly muddle the orange peel before dropping it in as well.
  4. Pour bourbon mixture into rocks glass over charred zest and cinnamon stick.  Garnish with a bamboo skewer laced with another cinnamon stick, strip of orange peel, and a cherry if desired.


Note:  If you don’t have a kitchen torch, if you are a particular fan of smoke infusion, or if you really love specialty bourbons, you may add additional smokiness to your drink by using Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon.  This is actually my favorite version of the drink.  You may also light the orange peel and cinnamon stick with a lighter and allow them to burn.  The flame is not as powerful as a torch, so it may take a bit longer, but your goal is to blacken them and create enough smoke to cause the overturned glass to become completely opaque during infusion.

 Runamok Bourbon Barrel Pure Maple Syrup also creates a delicious Smoked Maple Old Fashioned.  I’d suggest trying both and picking your favorite.  Believe me, it’s a tough choice.  It might require multiple comparative tastings.  Enjoy the tasty challenge!