Often, recipes don’t work out the way you planned when you first try them. You might have an idea in your head of how ingredients will work together, only to find out that reality doesn’t agree with you, and you have to throw the idea (and a drink) out. Or maybe your ingredients are right but your proportions are wrong, and you have to try and try and try again until you get it just right. But sometimes, a recipe presents itself so fully formed in your head that it works just right the first time. This was one of those times. And this also turned out to be one of my most favorite cocktails of all time: an Orange-Vanilla Bean Scotch Smash.Â â€“ Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Orange-Vanilla Bean Scotch Smash
2 oz Blended Scotch
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 Lemon, Quartered
1 inch-long piece Vanilla Bean
2 pieces Orange Peel
Muddle the orange peel â€“ thinly sliced to avoid the bitter white pith â€“ and vanilla bean in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until the bean is pulverized. Add the simple syrup, lemon, and Scotch. Then finished with a few ice cubes, the bigger and more even the better. Shake hard to smash up the lemon, then strain into a tumbler filled with crushed ice. (You should see specks of vanilla bean in your drink; don’t worry about these.) Garnish with a lemon and an orange wheel and enjoy!
This drink is so, so good. The vanilla and orange are an amazing combination, and they both play together with the smoky woodiness of the Scotch in some really interesting ways. We used a mellow blended Scotch without a huge amount of peaty smokiness, and the result is a tremendously smooth Smash that’s very easy to drink. Just the right amount of sweetness, too, to balance out the spice and citrus.
One of my favorite aspects of a Smash like this is the way it incorporates that citrus. When you shake up whole pieces of lemon, you get just just tart lemon juice but that intensely flavorful lemon peel oil too. So there’s an extra added depth of flavor that mellows out the drink even further.
(Donâ€™t forget to follow us onÂ Instagram, where weâ€™ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware byÂ Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper