Summer is coming up fast, and the mint in our little herb garden is growing like the weed it is. Â Today we’re featuring a descendent of the classic Mint Julep, but with some citrus and fruit thrown in for a refreshing summer cocktail. Â So grab some mint and enjoy this great (but little remembered) classic drink â€“ the Smash!Â â€“ Andrew
Read below for the full recipe!
Orange Mint Smash
2 oz Whiskey, Genever, or Brandy
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
Handful of Mint Leaves
In a rocks glass or tumbler, add the orange slice, mint, and simple syrup. Â There are two ways of doing the next step: if you’re going to drink this quickly, as an aperitif before a meal, go ahead and muddle everything together, being careful to avoid crushing the orange’s bitter white pith. Â If you’re going to sip this one slowly, don’t muddle the mint; muddle the orange slice well, slap the mint leaves a few times to bruise them gently, then add them to the glass. Â Fill the glass with lots of crushed ice, add your spirits, and give it a gentle stir. Â Garnish with more mint and fruit, then enjoy!Â
The Smash is an old drink, going back to the mid-19th Century as a separate drink but descending from the much older Julep. Â In its original form, the Smash was basically a miniature Julep, what Jerry Thomas called in 1862 “a julep on a small plan.” Â You could get away with mashing up all that mint because the Smash was meant to be imbibed quickly, before the mint grew bitter and vegetal. Â This is why it’s so important to be gentle with the mint if you plan to drink this one slowly.
The original recipe plops the orange slice (plus berries and whatever other fruit is handy) on top as a garnish. Â But I like my garnishes to earn their keep, so I build my Smash like an Old Fashioned, muddling the fruit along with the mint leaves to give the drink a great layered effect â€“ starting out strong and crisp from the spirit, then getting sweeter, fruitier, and mintier as you work your way down. Â Some people shake their Smashes, then strain over fresh ice and sprigs of mint; you could give that a try too.
Back in the day, the Brandy Smash was the most popular version, but Whiskey (I like Rye’s spiciness here over Bourbon’s sweetness) and Genever work really well too. Â Whichever you choose, it’s sure to be delicious.
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper