Skip navigation

2017 Best Cocktails in America: Leonardo’s Smoke

These 10 cocktails, selected by the editors of Restaurant Hospitality, showcase bartenders’ creative takes on top bar trends. Read on and get inspired. See all the winners >>

Leonardo’s Smoke 

Trend: Smoked cocktails

Where to get it: Emmerson, Boulder, Colo.    

Creator: Nancy Kwon, bar manager

Price: $16

Ingredients: Old Grand-Dad 114 Bourbon, amaro sfumato rabarbaro (smoked rhubarb amaro), Cocchi di Torino vermouth, Benedictine, bitters, housemade demerara syrup and grapevine smoke.      

About the drink: Sfumato is a painting technique derived from the Italian word “fumo,” or smoke, used by Renaissance artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, in which colors are blended in a blurred way, “in the manner of smoke.” Similarly, the ingredients here blend in such a way that they’re perceived more softly on the palate than expected.

A look at the trend: Smoked cocktails continue to burn hot. Adding a hint of smoke to cocktails was a popular technique among a number of this year’s contenders.

In the case of Leonardo’s Smoke at the recently opened Emmerson, grapevine — or sometimes cherry wood, depending on availability — is used in a cold-smoke gun.

The smoke is blown over the finished cocktail under a cloche. When the cloche is lifted at the table, guests get the immediate aroma, and the smoke flavors the cocktail.

It’s also a great visual presentation, said Nancy Kwon, bar manager and cocktail curator at Emmerson. “We’ve seen a lot of pictures” on social media, she said.

TAGS: Drink Trends
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.