So first, I need to apologize for the lack of posts recently. Work has been busy and the blog has fallen by the wayside. But I am back! And Spring is upon us in New York! Well at least for today it is. And with warmer weather comes refreshing cocktails. One of my favorites is the Bourbon Smash (otherwise known as a Whiskey Smash), a surprisingly simple cocktail that takes bourbon, a dark spirit I rely upon heavily in the cooler months, and makes it into a light and refreshing cocktail.
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce simple syrup
3 slices of lemon (each 1/4 of a lemon)
5-6 mint leaves
Add the simple syrup, lemon, and mint to the shaker. Muddle well. Add the bourbon and some ice. Shake well and strain into a lowball with some ice. Top with a splash of soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a mint sprig.
A lot of cocktails call for a splash of soda once the drink is assembled. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons to top with soda. I think the most important is to further dilute the drink to make it more palatable. Remember that this drink is meant to be refreshing and easily consumed. This is not an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan to be sipped and savored for its complexity. Soda will lighten the drink up a bit, but not so much so that the flavors are pale. Think of it this way: this drink is somewhat similar to a Mint Julep, which has the advantage of proper dilution provided by the mountain of crushed ice upon which the drink is served. Also, a little bit of carbonation is great in certain cocktails.
This drink is also a great one to play around with. You have limes instead of lemons? Go for it. Basil instead of mint? I have tried it and it makes for a very different, but equally delicious cocktail. You can even try to ratchet up the complexity a bit and add some bitters. As spring and summer roll in I will add some posts on variations. But sometimes, when the weather is gorgeous, like it is today, it's nice to enjoy a classic bourbon smash. No fuss, no over-thinking...just a delicious and refreshing cocktail to go along with the hope that this weather lasts and lasts.