It's summer and my mint plants are growing like gangbusters, which is great news because I now have a limitless supply of mint for summer cocktails, including one of my all-time favorites: the whiskey smash. But with all the mint growing around and my recent sorbet-making kick, I found myself wondering if I could combine them. And it turns out I can!
I have to admit I have a history of going overboard when making boozy desserts; three of my rum balls would put a large man under the table. So it took some doing to get the right amount of whiskey to put a kick in this sorbet, but not so much that my guests would raise their eyebrows and look at me askance. The final effect is more refreshing, grown-up treat and less, "I figured out a way around open container laws."
I love a whiskey smash any time, but nibbling on a whiskey smash sorbet outdoors in the summer heat felt deliciously fancy and a little bit louche. It made me wish I had a tennis game or polo match to watch, possibly while wearing an enormous white sun hat.
Whiskey Smash SorbetMakes about 1 ½ quarts
4 cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
4 oz whiskey, divided
½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 cups fresh lemon juice, cold
Bring the water, sugar, lemon zest, and half the whiskey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Turn the stove to low, and allow the syrup to simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove the syrup from heat, add the mint, and stir. Let the mixture rest until it cools to room temperature. Then put it in the refrigerator and allow it to cool for 4 hours, or overnight.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the solids. Press down firmly on the solids to get all the juices out.
Add the lemon juice and the remaining whiskey, stir, and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
(Images: Elizabeth Licata)