Tag Archives: mint cocktails

Drink of the Week: Whiskey Smash

Sorry to bombard you with two bourbon cocktails in a row, but trends being what they are (bourbon is hot, baby) I can’t help myself. Or, blame it on the lemons and mint — we have a bag of the former and a bunch of the later in the fridge so I went online looking for something that used those ingredients, expecting to find recipes featuring rum or gin. I was excited to discover one with bourbon. Say hello to the Whiskey Smash, a seriously delicious drink.

The Whiskey Smash features bourbon and muddled mint and lemons. It's yummy.

The Whiskey Smash mixes bourbon with muddled mint and lemons. Yum!

What makes my version so good (I think) is the honey syrup. It helps bring out the honey notes in the bourbon and it goes well with both lemons and mint. And for those planning on tuning in to the Kentucky Derby this Sunday, but who don’t really like mint juleps, this cocktail is a lovely alternative. In fact, it’s way better. Enjoy!

Dive in to a tart, sweet and strong Whiskey Smash.

Dive in to a tart, sweet and strong Whiskey Smash.

Whiskey Smash

  • 1-3/4 oz bourbon whiskey (I used Maker’s Mark)
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup (I used honey syrup: equal parts honey and water)
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into four chunks
  • 6 mint leaves, plus one for garnish

Put mint and lemon chunks into a cocktail shaker. Muddle to release lemon juice and mint oils. Add bourbon and simple syrup and ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Drink of the Week: St-Germojito

Please excuse this cocktail’s  ridiculous name. It’s just that I didn’t know what else to call the “mojito” made with St-Germain, that I created earlier this week.

You can almost imagine spring is coming while sipping this St-Germain mojito.

Imagine spring is coming while sipping this St-Germain mojito.

It was happy hour and we were faced with a dire scenario: no gin, no limes and only one lemon. We did have a bunch of leftover mint and some rum, however, so I decided to get experimental. Instead of using lime in my “mojito” I used half a lemon, as I prefer lime cocktails when they’re “cut” with lemon juice. Then, rather than adding sugar or making a simple syrup I added St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur from France, as the drink’s sweetening agent. This worked wonderfully as it’s not too sweet and pairs well with mint.

I actually like my tart and refreshing St-Germojito more than a traditional mojito, which I often find too sweet and/or not strong enough. I could taste both the rum (just slightly) and the St-Germain. In a word: yum.

It's tart and refreshing, thanks to the lemon juice, mint and soda.

It’s tart and refreshing, thanks to the lemon juice, mint and soda.

St-Germojito

  • 1 oz Mount Gay Silver
  • 1/2 oz St-Germain
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • Top soda

In the base of a cocktail shaker, gently muddle the mint with the lemon juice and St-Germain. Add the rum and ice and shake. Pour contents of the shaker into a rocks glass, then add more ice if necessary and top with soda (about 1-2 oz). Stir to lift the mint to the top of the glass.

Drink of the Week: Coconut Mule

I will start out by saying that I am not a big fan of flavoured vodkas, or any of those pre-made vodka-in-a-bottle-cooler-type drinks. But coconut is kind of a big deal lately, with folks drinking coconut water for its purported health benefits (as a hangover cure and a natural energy drink). So when a bottle of Skyy Infusions Coconut vodka arrived, I decided I needed to see if it could simultaneously induce a buzz and ward off a hangover. I poured a wee sample into a shot glass and sipped. On its own it smells and tastes like coconut (well, boozy coconut) — you could probably drink it plain over ice.

Coconut is all the rage. So why not bottle it and add booze?

The press handout directed me to a Skyy Infusions recipe page, where I perused my options. Since I am not the kind of person who has ingredients such as fresh basil and cranberry juice on hand, I opted for the Coconut Mule (I do have fresh mint growing in a container).

A classic mule with a twist: coconut.

At first sip it tasted not unlike the Zujito from a couple weeks ago, with ginger ale instead of club soda. But the coconut vodka soon prevailed and reminded me again why I don’t love flavoured vodkas: they always taste somewhat artificial to me. I wonder if a better option would be to use regular vodka and add coconut water? Just a thought.

Even though this twist on a classic mule is not to my taste, I think it has definite chick appeal. And while it will get you buzzed, I can’t guarantee you’ll be hangover-free.

Coconut Mule

  • 2 oz Skyy Infusions Coconut
  • 2 oz ginger ale
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 5-8 mint leaves

Muddle the mint leaves with the lime juice, then add the vodka and simple syrup and shake. Pour into a highball glass filled with crushed ice, then top with ginger ale. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Drink of the Week: Zujito

What to you get when you take the rum out of a mojito and replace it with Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka? A Zujito, of course. A bottle of Zubrowka polish vodka (the one with the grass in the bottle) has been sitting in my liquor cabinet for some months now, waiting for me to try it. Ditto the mint growing in a container in the backyard.

Since the folks from Your Brand Integrated Marketing Communications, who represent Zubrowka in Canada, were kind enough to send recipes with the vodka, I quickly zeroed in on the Zujito and mixed one for myself and a friend. Our consensus: two thumbs up.

We agreed it’s the perfect patio drink: refreshing, with a good balance of tart and sweet and just a hint of mint. Perhaps the vodka has something to do with it? It contains bison grass extract, which gives it a pale olive colour and smooth, velvety mouthfeel. I likened the Zujito to “adult limeade” while my friend described it as “mojito meets margarita.”

I took some liberties and adjusted the recipe, which originally called for 3 oz of vodka (holy triple!!!), 1.5 oz of lime juice and no club soda. I think my version is pretty delish and hope you’ll agree.

Zujito

  • 2 oz Zubrowka
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 8-12 mint leaves
  • Top club soda
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and sprig of mint

Muddle mint and sugar syrup in a Collins glass over crushed ice. Add Zubrowka and lime juice and churn with a bar spoon. Add more crushed ice then top to taste with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge and sprig of mint.

Drink of the Week: Mojito

Ever since I wrote a mint cocktails story for Easter, I’ve had the refreshing spring herb on my mind. So, I popped in to Mercato today and grabbed a bunch, then I stopped off at Zyn on my way home for a bottle of Mount Gay Eclipse Silver and voila! I had the makings for a mojito.

Spring, in a glass. I heart mmmminty mojitos.

I tried my first mojito at an all-inclusive resort years ago and got hooked. I love the way mint completes this cocktail. It would be good with just rum, sugar and lime juice, but add mint and enjoy another level of complexity. It’s no wonder Cuba quickly nabbed the mojito as its national cocktail and, incidentally, Ernest Hemingway couldn’t drink enough of them.

The secret to a good mojito is the muddling. Some bartenders will utterly pulverize the mint (I had the misfortune of sampling my first and last blended mojito in Mexico last month. Truly, it was awful), but that’s overkill. Bruise it just enough to release the oils and you’re gold. Enjoy!

Mojito

  • 12 fresh mint leaves
  • 1-1/2 oz light rum
  • 1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup*
  • Top with soda water
  • Mint sprig and lime wedge garnish

Lightly muddle mint in the base of a Collins glass. Add rum, lime juice and simple syrup. Half fill the glass with crushed ice, then stir with a bar spoon to bring up the mint. Add more crushed ice and stir again. Top with soda water, stir again and serve with a straw to avoid mint-tooth.

*To make simple syrup, heat equal parts sugar and water in a sauce pan until sugar is dissolved. Cool and refrigerate.

— Recipe adapted from Cocktails Made Easy by Simon Difford