We're a couple weeks into May, which in South Louisiana means a couple of things. First and foremost, Summer is basically here and it’s gettin’ hot! The humidity is quickly creeping in and the swamp creature in all of us is about to rear its ugly head. The middle of May also means that juicy strawberries are in season! Louisiana strawberries are like nature’s candy….extra sweet, a deep red and ultra juicy. We also got our hands on a mint plant a few weeks ago that is growing like crazy! So with all of that in mind, we’re shaking up an iced cold cocktail loaded with ripe strawberries and fragrant fresh mint.
This ruby red cocktail is a Strawberry Gin Smash. This smash is a gin cocktail, but you can change it up by using your spirit of choice. The smash goes way back and countless variations. This is a really interesting article that talks about the history of the cocktail. It says that basically for a smash to be a smash, it should be iced, but can be strained too. I love crushed iced, especially in a cocktail, so this one is basically a slushy, filled to the brim with ice. Side note...have I said smash enough yet??
There should also be fruit that's in season (Louisiana strawberries!) with a spirit base (the citrusy, floral notes of gin work well with these flavors) and the addition of the classic choice, fresh mint (but other herbs like basil would also be tasty). The cocktail is finished off with a splash of something bubbly, like soda or seltzer. This cocktail has all of those components, so Strawberry Gin Smash it is!
The first thing you'll want to do is get some simple syrup going. You can make a quick simple syrup by heating equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat the mixture on a medium heat, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar is dissolved. It won't take long! One cocktail gets 1-2 tablespoons of simple syrup, depending on how sweet you like your sips. I’d suggest making at least 1/2 cup batch (1/4 cup of sugar & 1/4 cup water). This recipe is for one cocktail, but quadruple the recipe and you’ve got a refreshing party pitcher! You can save any extra simple syrup in airtight container in the fridge.
In a cocktail shaker, muddle together three strawberries (washed, with the stems removed), 1 tablespoon of your simple syrup, the juice from 1/2 of a lemon and about 5-6 fresh mint leaves. When I say muddle, I mean muddle!! You'll want to really mash up the berries so that you get that rich, ruby red color. Add in 2 oz. of gin and some ice. After a few hard shakes in the shaker, pour the drink into a tall highball glass that's filled with crushed ice. Top it off with a splash of soda water and garnish with a slice of strawberry, lemon and/or mint.
Thanks for Chewsing!