A few months ago, Stonecutter Sprits released its Heritage Cask Whiskey
According to co-owner Sas Stewart, it's "distilled like bourbon, aged like Irish whiskey and finished like Scotch." Whatever the process, it's a smooth, woody spirit with a vanilla nose and notes of dark fruit and clove, with an off-dry, spicy finish.
Since the bottle retails for about $60, I like to savor it as a sipping whiskey. But it also makes a fine cocktail.
Take the whiskey smash, an oldie-but-goodie mashup that lies somewhere between a whiskey sour and a mint julep. Even with classic cocktails dominating bar lists from here to California, the smash doesn't receive nearly the airtime it deserves.
This week, I made one with black-currant simple syrup from St. Hilaire Family Farm
. That gave the drink a lovely pink color and bright, fruity twist. If you don't have a bottle of currant syrup on hand, you could substitute creme de cassis liqueur or straight cassis. The latter is a sweet, black-currant wine similar to port and is produced by several Vermont wineries including Boyden Valley Winery & Spirits
, Putney Mountain Winery
and Lincoln Peak Vineyard
I used peppermint from my garden, but if your plot grows with lemon, pineapple or apple mint, that would add yet another layer of subtle fruit flavor.
Currant Whiskey Smash
Makes one cocktail
- 8-10 leaves fresh mint, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 a lemon, quartered lengthwise
- 1/2-3/4 ounce black-currant simple syrup or 1/2 ounce cassis or creme de cassis
- 2 ounces bourbon
- Crushed ice
- In a pint glass or cocktail shaker, lightly muddle the mint leaves, lemon and simple syrup. Add the whiskey and stir.
- Fill 1/3 of a rocks glass with crushed ice. Place the lemons and mint on top, then cover with ice to fill the glass.
- Pour bourbon mixture over top; add more ice if space allows and garnish with mint leaves.
Many drinkers stick to clear, clean liquors like gin or vodka when the weather is hot. But with ample ice and a shot of tart fruit, whiskey can make a cocktail as light and refreshing as any greyhound or gin fizz around.