This bourbon-rich, sage-infused, and maple-drizzled smash is all that stands between you and relaxing on the porch this season. This smash takes a traditional liquor—bourbon—and gives it a fresh flavor by complementing its robust notes with earthy sage, sweet maple syrup, and fresh lemon. These ingredients are among those that work with bourbon to bring out its flavor palette, rather than challenge it. Like when infusing bourbon, you need to heed the rich, warm flavor of the Southern spirit when selecting accompanying ingredients. Traditionally, smashes are cocktails formed with a liquor base and mixed with fresh, seasonal fruits, all smashed together over ice. The general rule of thumb to making an official smash cocktail is to always use crushed ice. If you’ve ever had a mint julep, one of the South’s most popular beverages, particularly during Kentucky Derby season, then you’ve already experienced the taste of a smash. These Maple Bourbon Smashes are so refreshing that they’re bound to be a hit at the fall cookout (it is still hot down here after all!) or your big tailgate. If you’re making these for a crowd, don’t worry about using your very best bourbon. When it comes to mixing cocktails, it’s not necessary. The other ingredients—in this case, sage and maple—that help create the signature flavor of your drink, can slightly mask the nuances of a top-shelf bourbon. You can switch up the smash by trading sage for thyme, or maple syrup for honey. Anyway you mix it, it’s going to be phenomenal.
3 or 4 lemon slices
1/4 cup (2 oz.) bourbon
2 tablespoons torn fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
How to Make It
Set aside 1 lemon slice. Muddle bourbon, sage, maple syrup, lemon juice, and remaining lemon slices in a cocktail shaker to release flavors. Fill shaker with ice cubes. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with reserved lemon slice.