You gotta love a smash: simple ingredients, quick & easy technique, and a whole lot of flexibility. It’s an undisputed classic, with an appearance in bartending manuals as early as the mid-1800s, but there’s nothing uptight or by-the-book going on here. The smash is a choose-your-own-adventure cocktail.
Bourbon, lemon and mint are the modern standards, but you can play around with that basic template — try bourbon, Citrus Sour Proof Syrup, mint, and blackberries, for example, or tequila, Honey Proof Syrup, lemon, and sage — with whatever’s on hand and in season.
- Muddle gently. Don’t let the name of this cocktail lead you to grind away at the mint and lemon like you’re pulverizing peppercorns. The goal is to get the mint and lemon to release their juices and oils, just a little, before pouring in the peach syrup and bourbon. When it smells nicely lemony and minty, you’re done muddling.
- Use lots of ice. The smash is meant to be refreshing, a hot-day cocktail.
- If your smash tastes too tart or boozy, balance it out with a splash of club soda.
- Whatever combination you're using, set aside some fruit and herbs to garnish.