According to my beautiful advent calendar, it’s December 1 and family dinner night. And though those two things are reason enough to pour a cocktail, we’re also all too aware that the month is about to fly, and so are we, in non-coordinating directions. So! Raise a glass, we shall. Tonight’s offering, The Smash, found me while I was perusing a website for a new liquor store, Prestige Liquor, that just opened in Terwilligar. Intrigued by the Japanese whisky (which we’ve never tried), I was curious to see if we’d like it. Here’s how it went…
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- 1 tsp lemon syrup
- 1/4 cup Japanese whisky
- Crushed ice
- Sprig of mint, to garnish
For the lemon syrup
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4, 1-inch strips of lemon zest
To make the syrup, bring the water, sugar, and lemon zest to a boil in a small pot. Reduce to heat to medium-low, and let simmer for five minutes. Next, take the pot off the heat, let cool to room temperature, strain into a Mason jar, and place the fridge to chill.
When it’s cocktail time, place the lemon slices and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker, and add the lemon syrup. With a muddler, “smash” the ingredients like you mean it, so that all the oils and pulp start to canoodle. Pour in the Japanese whisky, top with ice cubes, secure the lid, and shake till chilled. Next, carefully strain the mixture into a tumbler filled with crushed ice (we also used the back of a spoon to squeeze every drop of goodness from the smashed dregs). Garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve.
The verdict: So. Much. Lemon. And we like lemon. However, what we really wanted from this cocktail was to get to know the whisky. The solution: add a splash more syrup to round everything out. And it did! Overall, the general consensus was that we liked it—just not as much as a similar cocktail we’ve made with bourbon. Glad we tried it? Absolutely. Will even revisit it come summer when the hot afternoons are long and workdays can be cut short.