Table of Contents Cocktails have always been a delightful fusion of art and science, a concoction of flavors and stories...
This classic cocktail, a delightful combination of bourbon, citrus, mint, and sweetness, has not only tantalized palates for generations but also tells a tale of its inventor, the revered Dale DeGroff, a figure who has indelibly shaped the modern cocktail renaissance.
The “Smashy” part of this cocktail is typically muddled lemon wedges and mint leaves, offering a burst of zesty citrus oils and a refreshing herbal aroma. The act of muddling releases the oils from the lemon peel and the essential oils from the mint, creating an invigorating sensory experience that complements the depth of the bourbon.
Next, at the core of this cocktail lies the rich and robust character of bourbon, which provides the foundation for this drink.
The introduction of sweetness, usually through simple syrup, provides a balancing element that ties the disparate flavors together. This sweetness not only rounds out the cocktail’s taste but also serves as a bridge between the vanilla and caramel notes of the bourbon and the bright, vibrant components of citrus and mint.
The Whiskey Smash’s origin story is as intriguing as its taste. It was Dale DeGroff, often referred to as the “King of Cocktails,” who is credited with resurrecting and popularizing this classic cocktail. DeGroff’s influence on the modern cocktail scene is immeasurable, as he played a pivotal role in revitalizing the art of bartending and mixology in the late 20th century. With a career that spanned decades, DeGroff worked in notable establishments such as the Rainbow Room in New York City, where he not only crafted drinks but also introduced a new level of professionalism and showmanship to the craft.
DeGroff’s exploration of forgotten recipes and techniques led him to rediscover the Whiskey Smash, a drink that had slipped into obscurity. His dedication to authenticity and innovation allowed him to breathe new life into this old classic, making it a cornerstone of modern cocktail culture. Through his books, appearances, and contributions to the bar industry, DeGroff shared his knowledge and passion, inspiring countless bartenders to approach their craft with an artist’s touch and a historian’s reverence.
60 ml bourbon
22.5 ml simple syrup
3 lemon wedges (about half lemon)
4-6 mint leaves
Garnish: mint sprig
Add the lemon wedges and mint leaves to a cocktail shaker and muddle.
Add the bourbon, simple syrup and fill with ice.
Shake for 5-10 seconds, until chilled.
Strain into an Old fashioned glass.
Garnish with a mint sprig.