Calgary Restaurant Trend: Smoking

An old method is used to enhance modern cocktails and food.


In the ever-evolving global food scene, the ancient craft of smoking food may be one of the only constants. From primitive use as a means of preserving meat and fish to modern-day presentations of glass-encased clouds of smoke surrounding a cocktail or a plate of food, the way Calgary restaurants work with the aftermath of smouldering wood chips has reached peak creativity these past couple of years.


photograph by jared sych

The old-fashioned at One18 Empire comes in a smoked glass.


Cocktail menus around town see their fair share of creative infusion. Sit at the bar at Alloy to watch the barkeeps torch planks of wood and cup the smoke with glassware. Over at One18 Empire, ordering an old-fashioned will have you deciding between five different types of wood — like walnut or hickory — to smoke the glass before you even settle on a bourbon to bring it all together. Cheers!


photograph by jared sych

Briggs’ signature devilled eggs include smoked mushroom purée.


The technique of smoking can be surprisingly delicate when used for a quick cold smoke like you’ll see with The Derrick Gin Mill and Kitchen’s beef tartare. Longer processes lead to the robust and lingering flavours one finds after biting into a meaty pork rib end at Hayden Block, the Texas-barbecue hot spot. Non-meat ingredients are also enhanced by the billowing treatment, such as the mushroom purée found inside Briggs’ signature devilled eggs or the smoked red-lentil hummus at Deane House.

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