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Off the Menu: Smoked old fashioned at Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Convention Center

Take a journey through time and learn how to expertly craft a smoked old fashioned with Embassy Suites Washington DC Convention Center’s lead bartender, Brigitte Laos. | By Alison Cavatore | December 1, 2022

There’s no denying that there’s something comforting about a classic. Whether it’s your favorite home-cooked meal, a tune that takes you back in time or a smooth cocktail on a nostalgic night — classics reign supreme.

Want to recreate some of that timeless spirit for the holidays? You’re in luck. We have Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Convention Center lead bartender, Brigitte Laos, on hand to assist. Her masterful preparation of a smoked old fashioned (guests’ top drink of choice) is truly something to behold.

A cocktail that has been around since the 1800s, the old fashioned is the epitome of a classic. It's also the hotel’s signature cocktail for their social dining hub, Brickstones Kitchen & Bar, and Laos crafts it each time (anywhere from 25 to 30 times per day!) with steadfast passion and pride.

Laos, who grew up watching her father, a professional bartender, and mother host parties with great food, drinks, music and company, says, “People can taste and feel the love I put into each and every cocktail I craft … They can feel my emotions just by seeing the way the drink is made with pride and a big smile. I’m a big kid when I’m behind the bar. It’s my playground. When [guests] leave the bar, they will remember the top-notch service and enjoyment they had. I love people and what makes me happy is to see people happy.”

With Laos’ expert guidance, you too can delight your guests with this memorable whiskey cocktail. The rich flavors of the old fashioned alone will leave a lasting impression, but the real showstopper comes with a little performance art as you infuse the drink with smoke from the flavored wood chips.

Laos’ pro bartender tip? “You definitely want to use a big cube of ice because it melts slower, allowing the taste and flavors to last longer.”

So, pull up a bar stool and start recreating this classic cocktail to kick off a memorable evening.

Smoked Old FashionedSmoked Old Fashioned

Preparation time: 2 minutes 

Serves one

Ingredients   

2 ounces quality bourbon

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters

Ice cubes

1 large ice cube

1 orange

1 brandied cherry

Tools  

1 mixing glass

1 12-inch bar spoon

1 cocktail strainer

1 bourbon drinking glass or rocks glass

1 Y or swivel peeler

1 cocktail smoker kit that includes a smoker, flavored wood chips (oak, cherry, pecan, apple etc.) and a torch.

Preparation

Fill smoker with two pinches of flavored wood chips (your choice of flavor) and set aside.

Pour 2 ounces of bourbon into mixing glass. Add 2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup followed by 3 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters.

Fill the mixing glass with ice over the ingredients.

Stir with the bar spoon for 15-20 seconds keeping the back of spoon against the glass.

Strain over a large ice cube in a bourbon glass.

Peel an orange over the drink allowing the zest of the orange to spray over the drink. Take that orange peel and snap it over the drink, releasing the oil of the orange. Swirl it over the rim of the glass and then drop it into the glass.

Place the brandied cherry in the cocktail for garnish.

Grab the smoker filled with flavored wood chips and place it on top of the bourbon glass.

Burn the wood chip using a torch, holding the flame 2-3 inches above the wood until smoke enters the glass. Smoke it for about 5-8 seconds. Place the lid to the smoker over the glass for a couple of seconds allowing the smoke to infuse the drink.

Remove the smoker and enjoy!

(Recipe from Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Convention Center bartender, Brigitte Laos, 2022.)

Alison Cavatore is the assistant editor for the content marketing team at Hilton. She has written and copyedited for numerous print and digital publications in the U.S. and abroad. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Alison has lived in Miami, Scottsdale, Holland, France, Switzerland and Canada. She currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.

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