Over the past few years, Portland's cocktail revolution has ushered in a few iconic drinks: the barrel-aged negroni at Clyde Common, the New Vieux at Beaker & Flask, and the tart drinking vinegars at Pok Pok. But none captured the imagination of the city's whiskey-obsessed imbibers like Laurelhurst Market's Smoke Signals.
Developed by mixologist mastermind Evan Zimmerman (currently tending bar at The Woodsman Tavern and Ava Genes) in 2008, this warming whiskey cocktail comes together with a sweet, nutty pecan syrup, a zing of amontillado sherry, and most importantly, a heady nose of smoked ice. The basic elements—pecans, whiskey, sherry—are evocative of Zimmerman's childhood in Virginia. Sipping this drink has the same effect as taking a swig of Jack Daniels two feet from a blazing bonfire.
But how exactly does one smoke ice? Is the smokiness a taste, or a smell? We asked Laurelhurst Market's top tender Eric Nelson—a devout protege of the now departed Zimmerman—to let us in on the science behind the cocktail.
Click the photo above to see a visual guide to making the smoked cocktail, ice chipper and all.
3155 E Burnside St