Some anthropologists argue that just one dominant feature separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom: we use fire and heat to cook our food. Like salt, smoking has long been a means of preserving food, and over time, we’ve learned that it also tastes pretty awesome as well. Those flavors are why we’re still willing to use the grill and light fires when we have access to electric heating elements: the taste just can’t be matched.
Many drinks and spirits come with smoky qualities – lots of teas, coffee, beer, and whiskeys. But you can also smoke entire cocktails or mixed drinks to add a whole other level of flavor and complexity.