When I drink a Grasshopper it brings me back to…
Smashes, like juleps, are usually made with mint. They’re always a popular summer drink because of that bright, refreshing mint flavor. A smash doesn’t require mint or herbs, though they are often present. Anything that released flavorful essential oils or juices – from berries to ginger to citrus – can be smashed, or muddled, into your cocktail.
This Orange Maple Smash is more of a winter cocktail, since it relies on ingredients that are in season during winter: citrus and maple syrup. Several orange slices are muddled in the bottom of a mixing glass to release their flavor, then the other elements are added and everything is shaken and strained into a coupe. This cocktail is incredibly smooth. The maple syrup seems to be the perfect bridge between the vanilla-laced bourbon and the bright, fresh orange juice. You get a lot of orange flavor from the fruit smash, since that releases quite a lot of the oils from the orange peel, and a great orange aroma from the flamed orange peel garnish. The garnish has a hint of smoke that mirrors the oak in the bourbon, as well. It’s simple and very well-balanced.
2 oz. Bourbon
1/2 oz. Maple Syrup
Half a Medium-Sized Orange, cut into wedges
Drop the orange wedges into a mixing glass and muddle to release their juice. Add the rest of the ingredients, fill with ice and shake. Double strain into a glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.