In an effort to recreate the time-honored ritual of smoking and drinking, Stephanie Teslar of Phoenix’s Blue Hound began ingeniously smoking cocktail glasses with tobacco. Settling on vanilla pipe tobacco, Teslar lights it on a skillet, allows it to start smoking, cups it with a chilled double rocks glass and lets the smoke diffuse for five to ten seconds. Caught in a cold environment, the smoke cools and disperses slowly, almost clinging to the glass. Teslar dubbed the accompanying cocktail “Lawless” in tribute to local Phoenix business, Lawless Denim. With the name as an inspiration, she wanted the drink to capture a “fugitive on the run” sort of feeling, a sense of transgression in the ingredients and in the overall flavor impact. So she wondered, what plays well with tobacco? Bourbon. What other flavor conjures the illicit? Wormwood, the primary botanical in absinthe, long-alleged to have psychotropic effects, which she expresses with Bäska Snaps Malört. Finally, she blended the flavors together using her “truck stop bitters,” which incorporate everything one might pick up at a rest stop: coffee, tobacco and a candy bar (which is represented with cocoa). The finishing component is, of course, genuine tobacco smoke.
- 1 ounce vanilla pipe tobacco
- 2 ounces bourbon (preferably St. George Breaking & Entering)
- 1/4 ounce demerara syrup (2:1, demerara sugar:water)
- 3/4 ounce Malört (preferably Bäska Snaps Malört)
- 4 dashes truck stop bitters (see Editor's Note)
- Chill a rocks glass in the freezer, at least 15 minutes ahead of time.
- Add bourbon, demerara syrup, Malört and bitters to a mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir.
- On a skillet, carefully light pipe tobacco.
- Once heated and burning, cup a chilled rocks glass over the tobacco to trap smoke.
- Once smoke fills the glass, release. (Extinguish pipe tobacco.)
- Strain bourbon mixture into smoked glass.
To make truck stop bitters, combine 1 ounce each of vanilla pipe tobacco, cocoa beans and coffee beans. Steep in 750 ml of overproof neutral spirit for about 2 weeks. Strain steeped spirit and bottle in dasher or dropper bottles.