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Strawberry Smash

Cotswold Cocktail School - Strawberry Smash Cocktail Recipe

ABV 17% / 2 alcoholic units

Primary spirit: Gin

A Brief History of the Strawberry Smash

The Strawberry Smash is a modern classic that pays homage to the tradition of muddling fresh fruit and herbs in cocktails. While there isn't a specific historical account associated with the Strawberry Smash, it aligns with a broader trend of mixologists and bartenders turning to seasonal, fresh ingredients to craft innovative and delightful drinks.

The "smash" category of cocktails, in which fresh fruit, herbs, and spirits are muddled together, has been a part of cocktail culture for centuries. These drinks are often celebrated for their ability to showcase the natural flavors of the ingredients used. The Strawberry Smash is a prime example of this approach, allowing the sweetness of strawberries and the savoury notes of basil to shine.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The Strawberry Smash is a cocktail celebrated for its bright and invigorating flavours:

  • Fresh Strawberries: Freshly muddled strawberries bring a sweet and juicy burst of berry flavour that defines the cocktail.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds zesty citrus notes that balance the drink's sweetness and provide a refreshing tang.
  • Basil Leaves: Basil leaves contribute a savoury and herbaceous element that enhances the overall freshness.
  • Sugar Syrup: A touch of simple syrup or honey provides subtle sweetness to harmonise the flavours.
  • Green Tea Liqueur: Binds the savoury basil notes with green tea and adds an extra special umami edge.
  • Gin: Gin adds a layer of complexity to the cocktail, offering a botanical twist.

The result is a cocktail that's vibrant, fruity, and utterly refreshing—a true celebration of summer's bounty.

Food Pairings

To enhance your Strawberry Smash experience, consider these delectable food pairings:

  • Fruit and Cheese Platter: A platter featuring a variety of cheeses, fresh fruits, and some nuts complements the cocktail's fruity character.
  • Grilled Shrimp Salad: The cocktail's vibrant flavours work wonderfully with a fresh and tangy grilled shrimp salad.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: A classic dessert like strawberry shortcake beautifully echoes the strawberry theme in the cocktail.
  • Light Summer Appetisers: Enjoy the Strawberry Smash with light appetisers like bruschetta, melon and prosciutto skewers, or cucumber finger sandwiches.

Bar Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Muddler
  • Rocks glass

Ingredients

  • 45ml Gin
  • 15ml Green Tea Liqueur
  • 15ml Simple syrup*
  • 30ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Strawberries
  • 2 Basil leaves

Method

  • In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries and basil leaves to release their flavours
  • Add the gin, fresh lemon juice, green tea liqueur and simple syrup to the shaker
  • Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds
  • Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with ice
  • Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and a strawberry slice

*Simple syrup - 1 part sugar to one part water. Gently heat in a pan until sugar has dissolved and allow to cool

What's the best Gin for a Strawberry Smash?

The best gin for a Strawberry Smash cocktail can vary based on your personal taste preferences, but it's generally recommended to use a gin with a balanced and not overly dominant juniper flavor. This allows the natural sweetness and fruity notes of the strawberries to shine while complementing the other ingredients. Here are some gin recommendations that work well in a Strawberry Smash:

  • London Dry Gin: A classic choice for its balanced juniper and botanical profile, a London Dry Gin like Tanqueray or Beefeater works wonderfully in a Strawberry Smash. The juniper complements the strawberry's sweetness and the mint's freshness.
  • American or New Western-Style Gin: These gins often have a more contemporary and diverse botanical profile with less dominant juniper. Brands like Hendrick's, Aviation, or Monkey 47 provide a unique twist to the cocktail, with Hendrick's cucumber and rose petal notes, for example.
  • Gin with Citrus Notes: Some gins have prominent citrus notes that pair beautifully with the lemon and strawberries in the cocktail. Bombay Sapphire, for instance, has a distinct citrusy character that can enhance the drink's freshness.
  • Herbaceous Gins: Gins with herbaceous qualities can provide an interesting layer of complexity to your Strawberry Smash. Consider gins like Botanist or Nolet's Silver Dry Gin, which have herbal and floral notes.

Ultimately, the choice of gin for your Strawberry Smash is a matter of personal taste. If you prefer a particular gin brand or style, don't hesitate to use it in your cocktail. The key is to ensure that the gin's flavours complement the sweetness of the strawberries, the tartness of the lemon, and the freshness of the basil, resulting in a delightful and well-balanced cocktail.

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