Palo Santo Boulevardier

Photo and recipe by Susan Whitney.

Palo Santo Boulevardier

1 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz Campari
1 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth

1/4 tsp Palo Santo wood shavings

Pour ingredients into a small saucepan and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Load the The Smoking Gun™ * chamber with Palo Santo wood shavings, tuck the flexible rubber tube under the plastic wrap, turn on the smoking machine, then light the wood shavings. Once the pot has filled with smoke, pull out the tube, seal the plastic and let smoke for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove the plastic wrap, pour spirits into a mixing glass filled with ice, stir for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with orange twist.

Recently, I made a batch of my Honey, I’m Home cocktails for a party. I was explaining to one of the guests how I make tobacco-smoked honey simple syrup for the drink, and she suggested I use Palo Santo smoke in a cocktail, saying it smells incredible. Palo Santo trees grow wild in parts of South America, mainly in the dry forests of Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. Related to frankincense and myrhh, it’s highly aromatic and was used by the Incas for both spiritual and physical healing.

The next time I walk around my local organic market, there it is! I buy a small packet, take it home and smell it. It has a warm, sweet aroma with hints of cinnamon and eucalyptus that I think will shine in a boulevardier, a bourbon or rye-based twist on a negroni that ranks high in my pantheon of cocktails.

I think bourbon will work better with the palo santo, so I pour an ounce of Bulleit Bourbon in a shallow, flat-bottomed bowl with equal parts Dolin Sweet Vermouth and Campari. My bowl has a plastic lid that will be perfect for holding in the smoke, but a small pot and plastic wrap would work just as well.

Next, I whittle 1/4 teaspoon of shavings off of a palo santo stick and place them in the chamber of the Smoking Gun, a handy device that has a small chamber for your smoking fuel. I tuck the flexible rubber tube under the plastic lid, ensuring that it does not become submerged in the liquid. I turn on the smoking machine and light the wood shavings. Within 5 seconds, the bowl has filled with smoke, so I quickly take out the tube, snap on the lid and set my timer for 5 minutes.

After the timer goes off, I remove the plastic lid, pour the cocktail into a mixing glass filled with ice, stir for 20 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with orange twist.

The resulting cocktail is complex, and the smoke isn’t readily apparent until my second sip. By the third sip, the spiritual healing is well under way. ¡Salud!

*If you’re not ready to invest in The Smoking Gun™, check out this technique by food blogger Irvin Lin’s Eat the Love blog. No special equipment required!

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