Here's the perfect drink for saying goodbye to summer.
I’m ready for fall – I’ve been longing for a cool, dry breeze since the onset of the dreaded humidity. Curiously, however, I’m in no rush to abandon those delightful summer cocktails ...
In tribute, as summer fades, I give a last nod to the Julep, the Smash and the must-have Lewis Bag.
I recently purchased a Lewis Bag for my home bar – a great tool for creating perfectly crushed ice. The package's arrival stoked my new obsession for making and enjoying slushy cold cocktails. Half of the fun is beating the bag with a wooden mallet until the ice has reached the desired consistency.
Originally intended for use as a coin bag (according to cocktailkingdom.com), the heavy-duty material helps to soak up moisture, resulting in a drier ice. Personally, I think it’s a tool every home bar should have, and at $4, it’s certainly not a bank breaker.
Though the Kentucky Derby is behind us, one of my early creations – utilizing the now indispensable Lewis bag – was my very first homemade Mint Julep. Researching the Julep’s history led me to the Smash – another delicious concoction made with crushed ice – and I can say that it’s been a happy discovery.
In his book “Imbibe!”, cocktail historian David Wondrich writes, “The Smash, also known as the Smasher and the Smash-Up (it gets its name from the way the mint was smashed up in the shaking), bears the same relation to the Julep that the Fix does to the individual Punch. It’s a quick bracer, rather than a slow-sipper; you don’t hear of Smashes coming with straws”.
According to Wondrich, the Smash was the drink from the mid-1840s, when it first made its appearance, until after the Civil War. Wondrich continues, “The Brandy Smash was by far the most popular, followed in later years by the Whiskey Smash (bourbon or rye). The Gin Smash also appears from time to time.”