Tobacco Infused Bourbon – The Havana Cocktail

by Pamela

tobacco infused bourbon, infused bourbon, cockatil recipe, bourbon cocktail

I haven’t done an infused spirits post in a long time, probably too long. I hope that this one more than makes up for my spirits absence. Given my love for bourbon, I was inspired to re-create a bourbon cocktail I had enjoyed on a trip to London a couple of years ago.

While roaming around the streets of London, a couple of years ago, Craig and I stumbled into a very cool cocktail club that you’d never find unless you knew about it or nosily poke your face into places that you have no idea what they are but look really interesting. The Experimental Cocktail Club in London is one of those places.

While it’s called a “club,” this isn’t some cavernous hall with scantily clad waitresses delivering gigantic bottles of booze adorned with crazy amounts of sparklers. This is more of an intimate setting type of club. It feels more like you’re hanging out a friends house (a friend that has an incredible bar with amazing ingredients) and just having a couple of drinks.

The menu has some really interesting cocktails with imaginative mix ups of liquids. Stuff you swear would never work and might be something you would whip up as a dare for your buddy to drink. But with all of the crazy cocktail combinations that we tried, they were all really (surprisingly) delicious. One of our favorites was The Havana Cocktail.

This drink was originally created by Shawn Layton of L’Abattoir in Vancouver, Canada and it’s a mixture of Cuban cigar tobacco infused bourbon (which in London, unlike the US, is perfectly legal to have…the Cuban cigar part), marsala and bitters. This is not a cocktail recipe for the faint of heart – there are some really strong flavors in here. But if you embrace the idea of enjoying a cigar, with glass of whiskey while sitting in a leather wingback chair, this cocktail is for you.

While this is not the actual recipe for The Havana, it is my interpretation of the cocktail after having indulged in one (okay, I actually grabbed Craig’s and left him with mine). Oh, and if you can serve it with one large ice cube in the glass not only will you add to the allure of the drink, the ice will melt more slowly and not dilute the cocktail as quickly.

Tobacco Infused Bourbon - The Havana Cocktail
Prep time
Total time
A cigar and bourbon is old school. Enjoy that combination minus the smoke. Tobacco infused bourbon makes a delicious cocktail called The Havana.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Cuisine: Canadian
Serves: 1
  • Tobacco Infused Bourbon:
  • 1 Cup (.24l) Bourbon
  • 3 1″ (2.54cm) Pieces Cut from a Good Quality Cigar
  • Cocktail:
  • 2 Ounces (59ml) Infused Bourbon
  • ¾ Ounce (22ml) Frangelico
  • 12 Dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • 9 Dashes Cherry Bitters
  • 3 Dashes Angosturo Bitters
  1. Tobacco Infused Bourbon:
  2. Add cigar pieces to a re-sealable glass container.
  3. Pour bourbon over the top of the cigar pieces.
  4. Stir the bourbon and tobacco to loosen up the leaves and continue to stir until all of the leaves are separated.
  5. Seal the container and set in a cool place for 6 hours.
  6. After 6 hours, strain the bourbon through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.
  7. Cocktail:
  8. Add the bourbon and Frangelico to a large rocks glass.
  9. Add in the various bitters and stir to combine all ingredients.
  10. Carefully place the ice into the glass and serve.
Before lining the sieve with the cheesecloth, dampen it with water first (squeeze out the excess water first). By wetting the cheesecloth first, you’ll keep the cheesecloth from absorbing your bourbon. The pieces of tobacco are actually pieces of a single leaf/layer...not chunks of cigar. You will have enough tobacco infused bourbon to make 4 drinks.


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Jeremy November 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I’m sure the cocktail you enjoyed in London was wonderful (I know I’d probably order it if I saw it on the menu at a place I trusted) but home tobacco infusions are really not something that most people should mess around with.

Nicotine can be extremely toxic at shockingly small doses and there is no good way to measure how much nicotine is known an infused liquor. See this article for more information.

After I read that I decided that tobacco infusions were just not worth the risk.

Pamela November 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Hi Jeremy,

I understand and appreciate where you are coming from on this. This infusion is really, really small…meaning is I only use a couple of small pieces of leaves as opposed to a “measurable” amount of tobacco leaves. But the article you reference is significant and anyone who plans to infuse a large amount of alcohol should probably read it.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 24, 2013 at 6:37 am

You two. It makes me think of our time in Cuba where we visited little tiny houses in the middle of pastures and inside half the house (separated by a sheet on a wire) were tables piled high with bootleg cigars. “You need license tag? No problem, my brother works for the factory and I’ll get them for you.” LOL

Now if I had used one to infuse bourbon I’d have already had this drink!

Pamela November 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Maureen, that is one place I still really want to visit. Your trip must have been amazing!

sippitysup November 23, 2013 at 8:22 pm

You had me until “scantily clad waitresses”. They should wear more clothes. It’s London dammit! GREG

Pamela November 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

And it was pretty cold when we were there Greg. 😉 But you know those young kids…they feel no temps. (But have you read the Daily Mail and seen the pix of the kids in London after a night of drinking? LOL)

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