Just in case you’re thinking that bourbon is one of those spirits that is only consumed sip by sip in a very dark bar while you think serious thoughts, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. And just in case you’re thinking that you’ll never be able to drink brown liquor, I’m also here to tell you that you’re wrong. You can and you should – especially in this drink! I wanted to create a cocktail whose flavors would definitely work for the fall season, but would still be refreshing and fun, and I wanted to illustrate bourbon’s versatility by showing that it does have this lighter, totally drinkable side. The cocktail that I came up with is a slight variation of a traditional bourbon smash, which generally contains citrus, sugar, and mint. (Think along the lines of a mint julep). In my Bourbon Cider Smash, I’ve left a bit of the citrus in, removed the mint, swapped out the sugar for some maple syrup, and added the cider and ginger ale. The result is a totally drinkable Autumn cocktail whose flavors will work from Halloween right through to Thanksgiving. Since Philadelphia is getting ready to celebrate it’s first Philly Craft Spirits Week, I wanted to be sure to use a bourbon that is crafted locally. I chose Bluebird Distilling’s Four Grain Bourbon, made in Phoenixville, Pa. from a blend of corn, rye, red winter wheat, and barley. It’s sweet and smooth, pairing perfectly with the citrus, cider, and especially the maple syrup. Go ahead- give it a try!
Bourbon Cider Smash
1 1/2 oz Bluebird Distilling Four Grains Bourbon
1 1/2 oz apple cider
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz real maple syrup
2 dashes of aromatic bitters
2 oz Fever Tree ginger ale
1 candied ginger cube for garnishing
Place all the ingredients except the ginger ale and the ginger garnish in the bottom half of a shaker tin and then add your 1 large cube and 2 small. Shake for 15—20 seconds or until cold. If you don’t have any large format cubes on hand, then fill the shaker 2/3 full with regular ice. Strain using a Hawthorne and pour into a Collins glass or a goblet like the one I used above. Garnish with the candied ginger cube on a cocktail pick. Enjoy!