Ok, I’ll be honest… This recipe was not my creation BUT I think I did perfect it! And I actually wrote all of the steps out in detail so it can be replicated to perfection. I stumbled across the smoked lemonade recipe by accident on this website, but I did jazz it up a little bit and am VERY happy with the results.
My recipe was actually featured this past weekend at Kapow Noodle Bar and got rave reviews. It’s a little time consuming but if you don’t mind putting in the effort, you and your guests will love the results… And you’ll look like a total SUPERSTAR! The smokey flavor adds such a unique flavor profile to the bourbon. I’m no bourbon connoisseur so the bourbon is up to your personal preference. Kapow used Buffalo Trace and it complimented the lemonade perfectly.
This recipe is party size and makes about 24 cocktails. You can easily cut it down accordingly. I apologize for the images. I was so focused on making sure I got the recipe right that I forgot about taking the pictures…
The Good Stuff (and equipment):
- 24 lemons, halved
- 1.5 bags cherries (I used dark red but I’m sure Rainier would be good also. I don’t have the exact amount cause I didn’t measure them out.)
- 1 bottle bourbon
- 1.5 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- Smoker (We have a green egg that we smoke on. You can grill the lemons if you don’t have a smoker but it won’t taste the same.)
- Foil Pan or Tin Foil
- Large pitcher
- Wide mesh strainer (optional)
- Shaker tin
The How To:
- Slice all the lemons in half. Pit the cherries. Get the smoker going and held steady between 200-230 degrees.
- Place the cherries in an aluminum pan. If you don’t have one, create a makeshift aluminum pan out of tin foil. Don’t stack the cherries too high. I ended up doing them in two batches.
- Place the lemons and pan of cherries in the smoker. Have the lemons face all different directions, half up, half down. Smoke for 30 minutes. I had to do mine in three batches because I didn’t have enough room on my grill.
- While waiting on the smoker, make your simple syrup. Bring the water and sugar to boil. I boil mine fore 30 seconds then pull it off the heat. If you want your syrup thicker and sweeter, boil longer, but remember you may have to make more.
- After 30 minutes check on the cherries and lemons. The lemons should be soft to the touch and the cherries should have created a bit of juice and look smoked.
- Place the cherries in a container, set aside and allow to cool.
- In the pitcher or a big pot add about 12 lemon halves. Take a wooden spoon and begin mashing the lemons to get the juice out. Two reasons you will want to do it this way… 1) They are hot as hell, so you don’t want to be handling the lemons yet, and 2) this allows the oil from the rinds to mix with the juice as well.
- Begin pulling out the lemons, giving them a final squeeze and discard them. I then pulled out all of the seeds and poured the juice into another container then repeated the juicing process until I was finished with all of the lemons (12 halves at a time).
- Now for the hard part… straining! Making this at home, I will never strain it again. It’s very time consuming and personally I like the pulp, but I understand some people won’t. Using a wide mesh strainer, strain the juice from the pulp. The pulp is thick so you may find yourself having to press the juice through the strainer.
- Add simple syrup. Taste as you are adding until you have the sweet tart balance that you prefer. About 3 cups worked perfectly for me. Then dilute with water, again until it is the consistency you want. I used about 1.5 – 2 cups of water to dilute. Remember you will be pouring this over ice so don’t dilute all the way.
- Now to make the cocktail: In a shaker combine 2 ounces of bourbon and 4-5 smoked cherries and muddle. Add ice and 2 ounces smoked lemonade and stir. DO NOT SHAKE. Strain over ice, garnish with a couple smoked cherries and serve. We have a 2″ x 2″ ice cube tray. We use those ice cubes for this drink because they melt slower so the cocktail doesn’t get diluted as fast.