With more sunshine, my end-of-day goal is to spend a few moments putzing in my garden. This means that dinner ends up being simple recipes and easy but delicious drinks, like smashes. These smashes make up a whole new world of cocktails with endless options for muddling, mixing, and of course sipping. This one is just perfect for today's 10-Minute Happy Hour.
In the world of cocktails, the smash is historically a drink that called for mint, a lump of sugar, ice and the spirit of your choice. The Savoy Cocktail book, originally printed in the 1930's says "The Smash is in effect a Julep on a small plan."
Like the julep, smashes have come to include all sorts of fruit, and this one showcases sweet ripe red strawberries. You can choose your spirit — rum, brandy, whiskey, and gin (my favorite!) all work. Add lemon, lime juice, or bitters to muddle with your sugar, or skip the sugar and top with a spritz. Basil and lemon balm, as well as the traditional mint, have made their way into smashes, too. As I mentioned, this drink, like sangria, has gone slightly schizophrenic — but in a good way. The simplicity works with so many fruit and spirit combos.
Do you love smashes? What's your favorite?
Strawberry Gin Smash Cocktail
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 wedge of lime
2-3 fresh ripe strawberries, 2 sliced, reserve one for garnish
3 ounces gin
Splash of club soda
In a tall glass, combine the sugar and a squeeze of juice from the lime wedge. Muddle with the back of a spoon to dissolve the sugar.
Add the sliced strawberries and lightly muddle.
Fill the glass with ice and add the gin. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with the last strawberry.
Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices (and advice) with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky
(Images: Maureen Petrosky)