Black Forest

“It reminds me of a campfire,” a friend said after drinking it down within minutes. It’s a simple drink with few ingredients, yet we spent a considerable amount of time finding the right balance of spirit, sweetness, and smoke.

Photos by ADV Photography

I’m a photographer, so naturally the inspiration for this drink came from a photograph I saw on Reddit titled “Black Forest (Germany)”. I later found out that the photo was not of Germany’s famed Black Forest but was actually taken near Hameln, Germany (Reddit appropriately destroyed the author of the post), but I was still struck by the tragic beauty of the name. I set out to make a black, smoke-infused cocktail; something to warm my soul from the -35℃ weather here in Ottawa, Canada.


2 oz Bourbon (smoked with Hickory Wood)
¾ oz Maple Syrup
¼ tsp Activated Charcoal Powder
4-5 drops Honeyed Apricot & Smoked Hickory Bitters (courtesy of Mister Bitters)
Garnish with a Cedar or Rosemary Sprig

Mix all ingredients in a large mason jar. Use a smoking gun to infuse the jar’s contents with the smoke of hickory wood chips. Cover and shake until the smoke disappears (may take up to a minute). Pour contents into a short, ice-filled glass.


This twist on the Old Fashioned is a real conversation starter. When I served this cocktail at my pet bird’s 2nd birthday party (you read that right), not only were people intrigued that the drink was completely black, but they were also mesmerized by the sights and smells of the spiraling, aromatic smoke. Most importantly though, they loved the subtle sweetness and the flavours of the forest.

Give it a shot next time you are hosting a party for your pet (or a human, whatever) and let us know what you think!

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