Smoke On The Water Cocktail Recipe

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Smoke On The Water Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


Smoke On The Water is a cocktail that embodies the spirit of a mystical evening by the sea, with a smoky aroma that evokes the imagery of a bonfire on the beach. It's a modern concoction that appeals to those who appreciate a balance of smoky, sweet, and tart flavors. The cocktail is particularly favored by adventurous drinkers who enjoy mezcal's distinctive smokiness.

  • The name is inspired by the classic rock song by Deep Purple.
  • It's a relatively new addition to the cocktail scene, gaining popularity for its theatrical presentation.
  • The flaming rosemary garnish not only adds to the aroma but also to the overall experience of the drink.

How Smoke On The Water Tastes?

The 'Smoke On The Water' cocktail offers a complex flavor profile. It's smoky due to the mezcal, with a subtle sweetness from the watermelon juice and hibiscus syrup. The Cointreau provides a citrusy depth, while the lime juice adds a refreshing tartness. The flaming rosemary sprig infuses the drink with a herbaceous aroma, enhancing the overall sensory experience.

Interesting facts about Smoke On The Water

  • The cocktail's smoky flavor is a nod to the mezcal's traditional production process, which involves smoking the agave hearts.
  • The use of a flaming garnish adds a dramatic flair and is a conversation starter.
  • 'Smoke On The Water' is often served in bars that specialize in craft cocktails and is a testament to the bartender's mixology skills.


  • Rosemary sprig: 1
  • 100 proof alcohol: for soaking
  • Banhez mezcal artesanal: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Cointreau: 0.75 oz(23ml)
  • Watermelon juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Hibiscus simple syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Lime juice: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Garnish: flaming rosemary sprig

1 fresh rosemary sprig

The rosemary sprig is the star that adds an aromatic, herbaceous layer. Soaking it in alcohol and then igniting it releases smoky flavors that dance across the nose, harmonizing with the mezcal.

Mary Mitkina

100-proof alcohol

Only used for soaking the rosemary, this high-proof alcohol is necessary for a good flare. Without it, you'd miss the theatrics and extra layer of smoky scent.

Alex Green

1 1/2 oz Banhez Mezcal Artesanal

Mezcal brings a signature smokiness and depth to the cocktail. Less mezcal, and you might lose the 'smoke' in 'Smoke On The Water'; too much, and it could overpower the other flavors.

Emma Rose

3/4 oz Cointreau

The orange-flavored liqueur adds a touch of sweetness and citrus complexity. If omitted, the balance would tilt, and the cocktail might taste too tart.

Mary Mitkina

1 oz freshly pressed watermelon juice

Adds refreshing sweetness and a touch of summer. No watermelon juice would make a less fruity, more austere drink.

Alex Green

1/2 oz hibiscus simple syrup

Contributes a floral sweetness and a hint of tartness. Leaving it out would make the cocktail less complex and a bit more one-dimensional.

Emma Rose

1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

The lime juice brings acidity, balancing the sweet and smoky notes. Without it, the cocktail might taste too cloying.

Mary Mitkina

Garnish: flaming rosemary sprig

The flaming garnish adds drama and brings out the rosemary and mezcal aromas. Not using a flaming garnish wouldn't change the taste but would lose the 'wow' factor.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Smoke On The Water Drink

  1. Soak a fresh rosemary sprig upside down in 100-proof alcohol for five minutes.
  2. In a shaker with ice, combine the mezcal, Cointreau, watermelon juice, hibiscus syrup, and lime juice.
  3. Shake until well-chilled.
  4. Double-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
  5. Place the prepared sprig upright in the glass.
  6. Light the rosemary immediately before serving and extinguish before drinking.

Pro Tips

  • For an extra smoky flavor, try using a smoking gun to infuse the cocktail with wood smoke.
  • Use the freshest ingredients possible, especially the watermelon juice, for the best flavor.
  • Be cautious when lighting the rosemary; use a long match or lighter to keep your fingers away from the flames.

Perfect Pairings


Grilled shrimp or ceviche can complement the smokiness of the mezcal and the freshness of the watermelon.

Spicy Dishes

A spicy Thai or Indian curry would pair nicely, as the cocktail's sweetness can cool the palate.


Try it with a lemon tart or berry sorbet, which will harmonize with the cocktail's citrus notes.

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What you could change in Smoke On The Water

  • If Banhez Mezcal Artesanal is not available, any other quality mezcal can be used.
  • Cointreau can be substituted with another orange liqueur like Grand Marnier.
  • In absence of hibiscus syrup, one can use grenadine with a touch of floral bitters for a similar flavor profile.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoke On The Forest

Substitute the mezcal with a smoky scotch and replace the watermelon juice with blackberry puree for an earthier, more forest-like version.

Smoke On The Orchard

Swap out watermelon juice for fresh apple cider and add a dash of cinnamon syrup. This creates a more autumnal drink reminiscent of bonfires and apple orchards.

Smoke On The Sunset

Use a chili-infused hibiscus syrup and grapefruit juice instead of watermelon. The spiciness and bitter sweetness introduce a sizzling sunset twist to the original.

In case you forgot basics how to make Smoke On The Water

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

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Frequently Asked Questions on Smoke On The Water

What type of glass is recommended for serving the 'Smoke On The Water' cocktail?

The 'Smoke On The Water' cocktail is best served in a rocks glass to accommodate the large ice cubes and provide ample room for the flaming rosemary garnish.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of this cocktail?

Yes, you can create a mocktail version by substituting the mezcal with non-alcoholic smoky-flavored tea or syrup, and using a non-alcoholic orange-flavored syrup in place of Cointreau.

Is it possible to prep the 'Smoke On The Water' cocktail in advance?

You can pre-mix the liquid ingredients without ice and keep the mixture chilled. However, the flaming rosemary should be prepared individually just before serving for the best aromatic experience.

How can I ensure safety when lighting the rosemary sprig?

Always light the sprig away from your face and flammable materials, extinguish it fully before consuming the drink, and never leave the lit garnish unattended.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when making the 'Smoke On The Water' cocktail?

Common mistakes include over-soaking the rosemary in alcohol which can lead to a fire hazard, not using fresh ingredients, which compromises the flavor, and not chilling the cocktail sufficiently before serving.

How can I achieve the best smoky flavor if I don't have a smoking gun?

If a smoking gun is not available, you can try to char the rosemary sprig briefly with a torch before adding it to the cocktail to impart a subtle smoky flavor.

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