Gandalf’s Smoke Ring

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Cocktail History

The Gandalf’s Smoke Ring is a Sips From Scripts original cocktail that was created as part of a series of The Lord of the Rings recipes made in honor of the release of The Rings of Power, a show that serves as a prequel to the original movie trilogy. As is implied by the name, the recipe was inspired by Gandalf The White and his proclivity for forming rings while smoking his iconic long wooden pipe. As a nod to the character, it involves a smoky whisky and brandy base and pairs them with white tea syrup, earthy tree-flavored bitters, a hint of cinnamon, and pipe tobacco for an additional wow factor.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Cognac: This is a type of brandy made in Cognac, France with distilled white wine. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac because it has a rich mouthfeel and a delightful brandy spice with notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy.

Peaty Islay Scotch: This is a type of of Scotch whisky made in southern Scotland with with spices, alcohol, water, and malt or grain that has been dried with peat fires. We used Ardbeg 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky because it has a strong peaty flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Green Label Single Malt Whiskey Non-Alcoholic Alternative in place of the whisky.

White Tea Syrup: This is a sweetener made with white tea, white sugar, and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

Spruce & Birch Bitters: This is a food product made with spruce, birch, botanicals, herbs, and alcohol. We used Crude Bitters & Sodas “Apothecary” Spruce & Birch Bitters.

Pipe Tobacco Smoke: This is emitted over the top of the drink to add smoke flavor.

Cinnamon Stick: This is a dried spice that has been rolled into a stick. We used cinnamon sticks from the bulk section at our local grocery store.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Mixing Glass: This is used to hold the ingredients while they’re being stirred. We used the Viski 17 oz Cocktail Mixing Glass.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Julep Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is stirred. We used the A Bar Above Julep Strainer.

Smoking Gun: This is used to smoke the glass. We used the Homia Wood Smoking Gun.

Tasting Notes

The Gandalf’s Smoke Ring has aromas of sweet tobacco smoke, a spirituous brandy-forward taste accented with dry earthiness and softened by white tea, and a woodsy and smoky aftertaste that lingers on the palate like a puff from a pipe.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Out of our drinks inspired by The Lord of the Rings drinks this year, we unanimously agreed on this one being our proudest creation, as well as it being the one we most highly recommend making at home. The pipe tobacco serves as more than just a conjuring of cheap tricks, adding both flair and flavor to an already tasty drink. We think the Gandalf’s Smoke Ring would make even the white wizard proud.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I was inspired by Gandalf’s habitual pipe smoking when dreaming up this drink, so I tried to combine the flavors and scents of tobacco and smoke along with what I pictured a cocktail Gandalf would enjoy. The Old Fashioned template was a natural fit since smoked versions are currently appearing everywhere anyway, so I played with that concept by using a brandy base, a hint of Islay Scotch, and some woodsy bitters from Crude Bitters & Sodas. Topped with actual tobacco smoke, this drink smells and tastes like the old-world sophistication that Gandalf embodies.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I’m not usually one for the smoked Old Fashioned-style cocktails, but this was incredible. The tea syrup, bitters, and pipe smoke add such a unique woodsiness when paired with the classic template. I could picture myself sipping it in the mountains of Middle-earth while tasting it for the first time. I think we did Gandalf proud with this drink. It’s certainly my favorite of our The Lord of the Rings cocktails we’ve made.”

Recipe

AuthorSips From Scripts

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 ¾ oz Cognac
 ¼ oz Islay Scotch
 2 dashes Spruce & Birch Bitters
 Pipe Tobacco Smoke
 1 Cinnamon Stick

Method
1

Add brandy, whisky, white tea syrup, bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

4

Add pipe tobacco to the burn chamber of a smoking gun, light, and discharge smoke into glass.

5

Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ¾ oz Cognac
 ¼ oz Islay Scotch
 2 dashes Spruce & Birch Bitters
 Pipe Tobacco Smoke
 1 Cinnamon Stick

Directions

Method
1

Add brandy, whisky, white tea syrup, bitters, and cubed ice to a mixing glass.

2

Stir for 30-45 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass over a clear ice cube.

4

Add pipe tobacco to the burn chamber of a smoking gun, light, and discharge smoke into glass.

5

Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Gandalf’s Smoke Ring

Make It a Mocktail: Use Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy and Escape Mocktails Green Label Single Malt Whiskey Non-Alcoholic Alternative in place of the whisky to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Cocktails from Movies & TV Shows

If you like this cocktail recipe, here are a few others inspired by movies and shows we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

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Miruvor (The Lord of the Rings): A gin cocktail made with elderflower liqueur, white tea, honey syrup, and orange flower water

The Last Variant Loki Cocktail Recipe

The Last Variant (Loki): An aquavit cocktail made with honey liqueur, Green Chartreuse, and lime juice

Stick 'Em in a Stew Lord of the Rings Cocktail Recipe

Stick ‘Em in a Stew (The Lord of the Rings): A potato vodka cocktail made with tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix, carry juice, celery bitters, Worcestershire sauce, saline solution, a meat stick, a canned potato, a cocktail onion, a baby carrot, a cherry tomato, thyme sprigs, and celery salt

Tatooine Sunset Cocktail Recipe

Tatooine Sunset (Star Wars): A tequila cocktail made with blue curaçao, pomegranate juice, grenadine, orange juice, lemon juice, and cherries

The Crown of Gondor Lord of the Rings Cocktail Recipe

The Crown of Gondor (The Lord of the Rings): A stout beer and red wine cocktail made with winter herb syrup, rosemary, and thyme

Spirits Lifted WandaVision Cocktail Recipe

Spirits Lifted (WandaVision): A peppered gin and vodka cocktail made with vermouth, paprika tincture, smoke & salt bitters, and cocktail onions

Butterbeer Cocktail Recipe

Butterbeer (Harry Potter): A stout beer and spiced rum cocktail made with evaporated milk, butter, margarine, vanilla extract, brown sugar, whole cloves, whole allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, whipped cream, and nutmeg

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