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“Smash” style cocktails include some of the most popular drinks today, like Mojitos and Juleps. Smashes can also be done with other cocktails, which is what we’re going to do!
Today we’re doing our take on a maple bourbon smash with the added twist of smoking it. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have a smoke gun to enjoy a good bourbon smash. If you do have access to one though, it can really bring an extra level of flavor to the drink.
What Makes a Cocktail a Smash?
Smash style cocktails are traditionally alcohol and sugar drinks where an ingredient is either muddled or smashed to release essential oils into the mix. Smashes are almost always served over ice. Modern interpretations of smash style drinks vary on whether or not the smashed fruit or herbs are strained out.
Our Approach to a Smoked Maple Bourbon Smash
To recreate this maple bourbon smash cocktail, first and foremost, use middle-tier alcohol. You don’t want any impurities or off-flavors from the cheap alcohols polluting your cocktail. You also won’t get the full benefit and nuance of a top-shelf variety due to the mix-ins and ice diluting the flavor.
Next is the sugar. Rather than granular or simple sugar, we are going to use maple syrup. When it comes to the syrup, mid-tier again is the recommendation. Don’t spring for the 100% pure Canadian or Vermont import. On the cheaper end of the syrup spectrum, avoid anything butter flavored or from a bottle shaped like a person (we’re looking at you, Aunt Jemima!).
When it comes to the orange, we will be peeling and juicing our orange separately. The traditional oils needed for a smash will be added from the orange peel.
Finally, the age-old question, shaken or stirred? I am a pretty firm believer in shaking all cold drinks that involve juices. The Spruce Eats does a great breakdown of the reasons you’d shake over stir and the common conventions of each.
Pairings with a Maple Bourbon Smash
When you think of sweet and smoky food, barbeque typically comes to mind. This is a very fitting combination when you consider that both the smash and American barbeque have their origins in the deep south.
To make this maple bourbon smash cocktail you will need a cocktail shaker and something to measure shots with. An optional tool is a smoke gun to add a hint of smokiness to the drink. I absolutely love my smoke gun, though it is a very specific kitchen toy that you definitely don’t need.
- 2 oz Bourbon
- 1 oz maple
- 1 oz orange juice
- 1 spray of smoke (applewood or cherry wood recommended)
- 1 large ice cube or sphere
- Measure Bourbon and add to shaker
- Measure maple and add to shaker
- Zest orange peel and place on side
- Juice orange, measure juice, and add to shaker
- Measure and add ice to shaker
- Add smoke to shaker using smoke gun (optional)
- Shake 5-10 times
- Pour into glass
- Twist the orange peel to bruise it and release the oil
- Wipe the rim of the glass with the peel then drop the peel into the cocktail to garnish