I was out for dinner with Mathew in Soho one Friday night at one of my fave places — the Ember Yard.
We gorged on delicious plates of smoked ricotta, octopus and rich and sticky iberico presa, all licked by the smoke of the coals from which the restaurant gets its name.
I have a terrible case of food envy when I’m out for dinner, it doesn’t matter where I am, I can’t keep my eyes of what other folk have ordered. God forbid I miss out on something tasty.
On this evening the girls on the table next to ours were drinking cocktails, and when their glasses began emitting smoke I could barely contain my excitement, of course I had to order one of my own. Now, I like making cocktails, mixing up different spirits and herbs, but this one wasn’t like anything I’d tried before — and not just on account of the smoke.
The base is vodka, violet liqueur and elderflower liqueur, which are topped with pink fizz and finally, piped with cherrywood smoke before tightly fastening with a lid so the smokey tones can mingle with the flavours in the drink.
It’s a grown up cocktail, sure, but not in one of those complex and challenging jobbies that you have to wince while drinking. This tastes of summery elderflower and feint notes of parma violet sweets from childhood, it sparkles on the tongue and the smoke lingers. Oh, and it packs a punch — just one of these will begin (or end) your evening on a very good note. Hic.
- 1 shots vodka
- 2 shots elderflower liqueur (I think the St Germain one takes some beating)
- 1 shot violet liqueur plus 2 tbsp violet liqueur
- Pink cava or prosecco to top up
- Smoke from a Smoking Gun — great compact kitchen gadget that you can use to smoke all kinds of food and drinks.
- Pretty but not essential — fresh edible violet flowers
- In a shaker mix together the vodka, elderflower liqueur and violet liqueur and shake with ice.
- In to 2 glasses with lids (if you don’t have any don’t worry, you could use standard tumblers and use plates over they top of them to seal in the smoke, or old jars with lids) add some ice, then drizzle a tablespoon of the violet liqueur in to each glass.
- Share the contents of the shaker in to the glasses, then top with fizz slowly (you want the bottom of the drink to be darker than the top) leaving a couple of inches at the top for the smoke.
- If you’ve not used a smoking gun before it makes sense for you to do a test cocktail first as handling the gun can be a little tricky at first and you’ll want to get the hang of it.
- Fire up your smoking gun and pipe the smoke in to the top of the glass, holding the lid/plate near the nozzle so it traps as much as possible inside — hold it there for about 10 seconds and clamp the lid shut.
- Let the flavours mingle for a few minutes before drinking, and if you want a more smokey hit, repeat the smoking an extra time.