Speaking of productive, we are wrapping up the "cocktail basics" series in our "25 Days of Cocktails!" The last classic with lots of variation opportunities: the smash.
Imbibe did a great piece on the history of the smash with the moral that a smash consists of, "a spirit base, ice, sometimes a splash of water, mint (or other herb), sugar, and the ever-present seasonal fruit."
Fruit (although sometimes it's just a garnish)
Herb (usually mint, but can be anything)
Ice (although sometimes it's strained)
As the authors Imbibe point out, a smash is a crazy flexible drink - the boundaries are really more like guidelines. This is the drink we make when we find a particularly delicious in-season fruit at the farmer's market.
Peach Basil Smash
2 Large Slices of Peaches
3-4 Basil Leaves
1.5oz Rye Whiskey
.5-1oz Honey Syrup (amount depends on how sweet and juicy the peaches are)
Splash of tonic water
Note: Muddle the peaches vigorously, then add basil and muddle gently again. Shake with rye and honey, strain into a glass with crushed ice, and top with tonic and a slice of peach.
Pear and Sage Smash
Half a Ripe Pear
3-4 Sage Leaves
.5oz Domain de Canton
3 Dashes of Scrappy's Cardamon bitters*
Splash of ginger beer
Note: Muddle the pear and sage, then shake with gin, amaro and Domain. Strain and top with ginger beer.
Romeo and Juliet
3-4 Slices of Cucumber
3-4 Mint Leaves
1.5oz Pink Lemonade
Splash of seltzer water
Note: Muddle cucumber and mint, then shake with gin and lemonade. Strain and top with seltzer.
*Note: this is an affiliate link for a product we own and love!