Smoke on the Water


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Introduction to Smoke on the Water

Welcome to the enigmatic world of Smoke on the Water, a cocktail that artfully balances smoky, sweet, and tart flavors. This mezcal-based drink is a modern classic, perfect for those who appreciate a cocktail with depth and character. Let’s dive into the essence of this captivating concoction.

The allure of Smoke on the Water lies in its complex flavor profile. It’s a drink that tells a story with each sip, taking you on a journey through a landscape of taste. Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or a curious newcomer, this drink is sure to intrigue and delight.

Join us as we explore the history, ingredients, and preparation of Smoke on the Water. Discover the secrets behind its smoky allure and learn how to craft this mesmerizing cocktail at home.

Key Facts About Smoke on the Water

  • Alcohol Content: Approximately 20% ABV
  • Calories: Approximately 200 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: Approximately 20 g
  • Preferred Glass: Highball or Rocks Glass
  • Typical Garnish: Fresh Blackberries and a Lemon Twist

Interesting Facts about Smoke on the Water

Did you know that the smoky flavor of mezcal in Smoke on the Water comes from the traditional process of cooking the agave hearts in pit ovens? This imparts a distinctive smokiness that’s the hallmark of the cocktail.

The blackberry syrup isn’t just for sweetness; it’s a nod to the classic bramble cocktails and adds a rich, fruity layer that complements the mezcal’s smokiness.

While Smoke on the Water is a relatively new addition to the cocktail scene, it’s quickly become a favorite among those who enjoy a smoky twist on their drinks.

Smoke on the Water Cocktail

Tasting Notes for Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water is a cocktail with a bold personality. The smoky notes of mezcal are perfectly balanced with the sweetness of blackberry syrup, while the fresh lemon juice adds a refreshing tartness. This drink is a symphony of flavors that’s both invigorating and comforting.

It’s a versatile cocktail that suits a variety of occasions. Whether you’re enjoying a quiet evening at home or hosting a lively gathering, Smoke on the Water is sure to be a hit. Its unique flavor profile appeals to those who enjoy a drink with a bit of edge.

For those who appreciate the finer things in life, Smoke on the Water is a testament to the craft of cocktail making. It’s a drink that demands attention and savors slowly, perfect for sipping and savoring.

History of Smoke on the Water

The origins of Smoke on the Water are shrouded in mystery, much like the cocktail itself. While mezcal has been enjoyed for centuries in Mexico, its use in modern cocktails is a relatively recent phenomenon. The rise of artisanal mezcal has brought this smoky spirit to the forefront of the cocktail world.

Smoke on the Water is a product of this mezcal renaissance. It’s a drink that celebrates the traditional flavors of Mexico while incorporating contemporary mixology techniques. The result is a cocktail that’s both timeless and modern.

As mezcal continues to gain popularity, cocktails like Smoke on the Water are leading the charge. They showcase the versatility and depth of this storied spirit, introducing it to a new generation of cocktail enthusiasts.

Smoke on the Water Ingredients

  • Mezcal (2 oz / 59 ml): The backbone of the cocktail, providing a robust smoky flavor.
  • Blackberry Syrup (1 oz / 30 ml): Adds a rich sweetness and depth, balancing the mezcal’s smokiness.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice (3/4 oz / 22 ml): Brings a bright tartness, cutting through the sweetness and enhancing the drink’s complexity.
  • Club Soda: Adds effervescence, lightening the cocktail and making it more refreshing.
  • Garnish: Fresh blackberries and a lemon twist add visual appeal and a hint of additional flavor.

Did you know?

“Mezcal was once considered a spirit for the rural working class, but it has now taken its place among the world’s finest liquors, celebrated for its rich flavor and cultural heritage.”

Preparing Smoke on the Water

Smoke on the Water Method

Combining the Ingredients

Start by measuring out the mezcal, blackberry syrup, and fresh lemon juice using a jigger. This ensures precision and balance in your cocktail.

Shaking to Perfection

Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and pour in the measured ingredients. Shake vigorously until the shaker feels cold to the touch, which indicates that the drink is well-chilled and properly diluted.

Straining and Serving

Strain the mixture into an ice-filled glass, being careful to leave any ice shards behind. Top up with club soda for a refreshing fizz, and garnish with fresh blackberries and a lemon twist to enhance the visual appeal and aroma.

Serving Suggestion for Smoke on the Water

The ideal glass for Smoke on the Water is a highball or rocks glass. These glasses provide ample room for ice and garnishes, while also allowing the aromas of the cocktail to reach the nose.

Garnishes play a crucial role in the presentation and flavor of the cocktail. Fresh blackberries add a touch of elegance and a burst of fruity flavor, while the lemon twist contributes a zesty aroma that complements the drink’s tartness.

Elevating Smoke on the Water

  • Choose a Premium Mezcal: Opt for a high-quality mezcal with a pronounced smoky profile to intensify the cocktail’s signature flavor.
  • Homemade Blackberry Syrup: Create your own syrup using fresh blackberries for a more authentic and fresh taste.
  • Perfect the Garnish: Take the time to carefully twist the lemon peel and skewer the blackberries for a professional presentation.

Smoke on the Water Cocktail Served

Substitutions and Alternatives for Smoke on the Water

If mezcal is not available, a peaty Scotch can be a suitable substitute, offering a different but equally smoky profile. For a non-alcoholic version, consider using a smoky tea as the base.

Similar cocktails that share the smoky and fruity characteristics include the classic Bramble or a Blackberry Margarita. These drinks offer a similar balance of flavors with their own unique twists.

Add a Twist to Smoke on the Water

Experiment with different fruit syrups, such as raspberry or blueberry, to add a new dimension to the cocktail. Infusing the mezcal with herbs like thyme or rosemary can introduce an aromatic complexity.

For a spicier kick, muddle a slice of jalapeño in the shaker before adding the other ingredients. This will add a subtle heat that complements the smokiness of the mezcal.

Preferred Liquors for Smoke on the Water

When crafting Smoke on the Water, consider using artisanal mezcals like Del Maguey Vida or Montelobos Mezcal. These brands are known for their quality and depth of flavor, making them ideal for this cocktail.

For the blackberry syrup, brands like Monin or Torani offer ready-made options, but homemade syrup will always provide a fresher taste.

Similar Cocktails to Smoke on the Water

If you enjoy Smoke on the Water, you might also like the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, which combines mezcal with tequila and bitters. The Penicillin cocktail, with its blend of Scotch, lemon, and honey-ginger syrup, also offers a smoky-sweet profile.

For a lighter alternative, the Paloma provides a refreshing mix of tequila, grapefruit, and soda, while still maintaining a citrusy tang.

Food Pairings to go with Smoke on the Water

Pair Smoke on the Water with bold flavors like barbecued meats or spicy tapas. The smoky notes of the cocktail complement the charred flavors of grilled dishes.

For a more adventurous pairing, try it with dark chocolate desserts. The bitterness of the chocolate and the sweetness of the cocktail create a delightful contrast.

Smoke on the Water FAQs

Can I make Smoke on the Water without a shaker? Yes, you can stir the ingredients with ice in a glass, but shaking ensures a well-chilled and integrated cocktail.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of Smoke on the Water? Yes, use a smoky tea or a non-alcoholic smoky spirit substitute to mimic the mezcal’s flavor.

How can I adjust the sweetness of the cocktail? Vary the amount of blackberry syrup to taste. Start with less and add more as needed.

What if I don’t have fresh blackberries for garnish? A lemon twist will suffice, but fresh berries add a special touch.

Can I use bottled lemon juice? Fresh lemon juice is preferred for its bright flavor, but bottled can be used in a pinch.

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Smoke on the Water

A mysterious and alluring cocktail that combines the smoky flavors of mezcal with the sweetness of blackberry syrup and the tartness of fresh lemon juice, finished with a touch of club soda.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Calories 200 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger or measuring tool
  • Strainer
  • Ice
  • Highball Glass or Rocks Glass


  • 2 oz Mezcal
  • 1 oz Blackberry Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Club Soda to top up
  • Garnish: Fresh Blackberries and a Lemon Twist


  • In a shaker, combine the mezcal, blackberry syrup, and fresh lemon juice.
  • Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into an ice-filled glass.
  • Top up with club soda.
  • Garnish with fresh blackberries and a lemon twist.


For a stronger smoky flavor, consider using a smokier mezcal. Adjust the sweetness with more or less blackberry syrup to suit your taste.
Keyword Blackberry Syrup, Club Soda, Cocktail, lemon juice, mezcal, Refreshing, Smoke on the Water, smoky, Sweet, Tart

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