For the 4th year in a row, I traveled to New York City to spend Thanksgiving with my two best guys, Brian and Jeff. And for the 4th year in a row, we cooked up a feast complete with all the Thanksgiving staples, as well as some new dishes. My favorites were the maple roasted brussel sprouts (Those little guys really have a false bad rep. They are delicious!) and popovers with acorn squash and pecans. Of course the meal would not be complete with out a few cocktails and paired wines. For one of our pre-dinner cocktails, I mixed up Cranberry Smashes.
The Smash, the Whiskey Smash in particular, has a long history. It is mentioned by Jerry Thomas in his 1862 How to Mix Drinks, or the Bon-Vivant’s Companion: “This beverage is simply a julep on a small plan.” His recipe consists of ½ tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 wine-glass of whiskey. Since 1862, a smidge more sweetner, mint and lemon slices have been added. For my Thanksgiving smash, I then added cranberries into the muddled mix. The cranberry is, after all, a quintessential part of Thanksgiving—what is Turkey Day without cranberry sauce? (By the way, I made the most delicious cranberry sauce this year with Grand Marnier.) A handful of the little red fruits join forces with the muddled lemon to add a nice tart/bitter quality that along with a little sugar and mint create a perfect compliment to the warm richness of bourbon. Now this is a boozey drink, so I recommend (as I did with Brian) that you make the gravy before you down that smash.
Cranberry Smash (recipe used at Drink)
Muddle 15 cranberries
Add 2 slices of lemon, 1 ½ tsp of sugar, and mint. Muddle some more.
Add 2 ½ oz bourbon (I used Elijah Craig 12 year)
Shake with ice
Serve over crushed ice and garnish with cranberries and mint.
Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers!