A smash is an ancient cocktail template, going at least as far back as Jerry Thomas’ 1862 How to Mix Drinks. It is a type of julep – a concoction of spirits, sugar, and mint. Extra fruit, either in the form of juice or garnish, makes it a proper smash.
We could’ve spammed up the Cocktail Party app with a Bourbon Smash and a Rye Smash and a Brandy Smash and so on (and we still might!) – but the basic smash recipe is a choose-your-own-adventure, not a paint-by-numbers. Stick to the ratio, pick the booze you like best, add a syrup, and you’re always guaranteed to have a lovely drink at the end of it.
We’re especially fond of a midwinter rye whiskey smash with sweet Meyer lemons. If you do use Meyers, or another extra-sweet variety, you may wish to cut back slightly on the simple syrup or sugar.
Add the mint and syrup (or sugar) to your shaker and press down firmly with a muddler, taking care not to tear the mint into little bits. Add whiskey (or other spirit), lemon juice, and ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled short glass and garnish with a sprig of mint.