"First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you."
Photo by Rob Culpepper.
On Friday, we set up a rooftop speakeasy at the home of our magnanimous friend Kelsey Kreiling. She and her co-conspirator David Fingerman are behind the new Internet sensation, Bourbon ‘n’ Cake. They were the definition of gracious hosts.
Notes on the Whiskey Smash:
In the early 2000s, the patrons of New York’s premier cocktail dens seemed to have something against whiskey. So the bartenders got them to drink it by mixing up the Smash. But that was just a resurrection of an old classic: recipes exist as early as Jerry Thomas’ 1862 version. It could also be called the Great Unifier: sweet and smooth enough for the casual drinker—but with enough booze and bite to satisfy those with stauncher tastes. And best of all, it’s simple to make.
When you’ve grown tired of mojitos and gin-and-tonics, and want a little more substance in your summer, the Smash is your friend. The base is made up of mint, lemon, bitters and simple syrup (muddling them all together releases flavorful citrus and mint oils into the syrup). Some make this drink with bourbon, but we find that the aggressiveness of rye plays perfectly with the sweetness and acidity of the other ingredients. We like to pour the shaken drink over fresh crushed ice (taking a cue from the Mint Julep, a close cousin). This technique makes the drink supremely cold and refreshing, but it also risks diluting it. Conveniently, it’s important to guzzle this one quickly.
The extra 20 percent—a few words on technique:
If you muddle the mint too hard, it gets stringy and bitter as it releases the chlorophyl, so bruise it lightly instead. Shaking it with ice will do the rest.