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Dhungar Smoked Old-Fashioned

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Here is a unique take on the traditional old-fashioned, that uses the Indian dhungar technique to add a smokiness to the cocktail. It is also a fun way to add some presentational drama to a cocktail. 

Dhungar is a technique typically reserved for dals and meats. It was introduced to India by the Mughals about 500 years ago. It involves perfuming food with the flavor of smoke by burning ghee over hot coal and allowing the smoke to permeate the dish. Here we use it to give a velvety smokiness to a traditional old-fashioned. 

Glass of dhungar old-fashioned

Dhungar is often seen in Awadhi food, which has a deep Mughal influence. This chana dal is one example.


Charcoal smoking in a bowl

Whiskey (Bourbon)

Angostura bitters

Orange twist

Cardamom simple syrup (or simple syrup) — see recipe for cardamom simple syrup.


Charcoal — make sure to use a plain charcoal that does not have any starter fluid, and do not add starter fluid.


Lidded dish – I use a cake stand dome because I like to be able to see the smoke. Any large pot with a lid would work as well.


This drink is fun and will leave a delightful impression on your guests if you serve it at a cocktail party or barbeque, although it requires some precautions. It’s best for an outdoor party where the smoke can dissipate without becoming obnoxious. You can prebatch the bourbon, bitters, and sugar together. Then just add the smoke, ice, and garnish to serve it.


  • Take care not to over smoke the drink. It can become unpleasant if smoked for too long. We recommend 2 minutes max. Set a timer.
  • I use cardamom simple syrup, you can use plain simple syrup or a simple syrup of your choice.


Dhungar old fashioned

Dhungar Smoked Old-Fashioned

A unique take on the traditional old-fashioned that uses the Indian dhungar technique to add a smokiness to the cocktail. It is a fun way to add some presentational drama to a cocktail.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1
Calories 188 kcal


  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 2 tsp Cardamom simple syrup or plain simple syrup
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ½ tsp ghee (a dollop)
  • Orange peel twist
  • Ice


  • Add bourbon to a whiskey glass. Add simple syrup and Angostura bitters. Stir to combine.
  • Prepare a charcoal by heating on a stove or over half of a wax starter square. (Take fire safety precautions, and do this in a very well-ventilated room or outside). When the charcoal is grayish-white on one side, turn it over and do the same to the other side.
  • Move the charcoal to a bowl or tray in a heat-safe vessel that can be fully closed. Top the charcoal with a dollop of ghee. Set the glass near the charcoal (not touching), and cover. Allow to sit and smoke for up to 2 minutes.
  • Remove the drink from the smoke. Dispose of charcoal by immersing it in water or another fire-safe method of extinguishing.
  • Add a twist of orange peel and ice.



Calories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 12gSodium: 9mgPotassium: 10mgSugar: 11gCalcium: 2mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cocktail, old-fashioned, smoke, whiskey
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. 5 stars
    Your instructions for making this dhunger old fashioned drink was perfect. I enjoyed your drink recipe and plan on making it again.

  2. 5 stars
    so much fun!!!
    I have seen this done with a dahl before on masterchef but never with a drink.
    Had to give it a go! And boy was it worth it, the smokey flavor worked so well with the whiskey

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