Bright, fresh, tart and delicious: the Smash is a really wonderful drink any time of year, but particularly so in the spring. It’s also a really flexible drink, a simple combination of spirits, sugar, mint, and fresh fruit. Most people encounter the Smash in its Whiskey form, but the Whiskey Smash is more like the first chapter of a much longer book. I’m particularly fond lately of this version, based on a gentle Italian aperitif wine, the Cardamaro Smash.– Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
The Cardamaro Smash
2 oz Cardamaro
3/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Peach Liqueur
1/2 a Lemon, Quartered
Add the lemon pieces to the bottom of a shaker and muddle really well to extract all the juice and some of the aromatic oils from the lemon’s peel. Add the Cardamaro, demerara syrup (a 1:1 raw sugar to water syrup), and liqueur and fill the shaker 2/3 full with ice. Shake well and then double-strain into a chilled tumbler; ice is optional. Garnish with a sprig of mint, slapped in the palm of your hand to release its aroma. Enjoy!
I’ve become something of a Cardamaro evangelist since discovering it recently. Cardamaro is an Italian amaro, a bitter herbal liqueur, but this one is big on the herbal and light on the bitter. It’s based on Moscato wine and infused with cardoon, a wild relative of the cultivated artichoke, along with some other botanicals. Its low proof and soft spiciness make it a really nice, versatile cocktail ingredient, and I’ve found myself using it in a lot of recipes –substituting some Cardamaro for sweet vermouth makes a killer Manhattan variation for winter, the sort of thing you want to drink in from of a roaring fire in December.
This was my first try using it as a base for a low-proof cocktail, and I think the Cardamaro stands up by itself. The Cardamaro Smash is beautifully tart and sweet, with a subtly spicy base. I added the Rothman & Winter peach liqueur – which has a really clean fruit flavor – to add a hint of summery fruit. Easy drinking.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper