As the days get hotter, we want everything from what we cook to what we sip to be one thing only: refreshing. Well, that's exactly what's going on in this twist on the classic Bourbon Smash, where we add in loads of fresh mint, not one but two types of citrus, and the ripest peaches we can find!
The thing that takes it from zero to 60 in no time at all? The peach shrub adds a complex sweet-tart flavor that is a perfect juxtaposition to the boozy Bourbon flavor. Though, if you don't have the time or patience to make it, you can also make this with orange liqueur (any Curaçao or Cointreau) for an equally delicious but less tart take. We are fans of all sorts of bourbon cocktails but, if you have fresh peaches, orange slices, and mint on hand, this is a must make.
We could share stories of how we lovingly preserve produce every season that we take palettes of tomatoes or bushels of runner beans and do day-long kitchen projects like canning or dehydrating.
Sometimes we do that, but the truth is it's rare because it takes up a lot of time. More often, we turn to quick preserving methods like making a shrub.
So we're on the same page; a shrub is an old-school "drinking vinegar" that dates back to colonial times. As for "drinking vinegar," it is a non-alcoholic syrup made by letting fruit and sugar marinate, then stirring, and sometimes also some herbs, spices, and other aromatics. Think of it like a standard cocktail simple syrup and vinegar came together and made an incredibly delicious baby!
To make the shrub itself requires nothing more than fruit, sugar, vinegar, and some patience. We adore making shrubs because it's pretty much the lazy woman’s way to preserve, and we're here for it.
We’ve made many variations over the years, but I keep coming back to the simplicity of this one with peaches and red wine vinegar — most likely because it’s a match made in cocktail heaven. This sweet-tart vinegary fruit syrup is amazing in soda, over vanilla ice cream, or in this Bourbon Peach Citrus Smash Cocktail.
A classic Bourbon Smash is siblings to a Whiskey Smash. These classic cocktails are similar to a Mojito or a Julep in that you take a bunch of delicious bits and muddle them to bring out their best flavors, then add in the alcohol. In the case of a classic Bourbon Smash, it would be lemon and mint and then topped with crushed ice and Bourbon.
We leveled up the classic Bourbon Smash by adding ripe fresh peaches, orange or mandarin bits, and peach shrub. Don't let the idea of a peach cocktail deter you–the shrub keeps this from being a sweet drink because it lends a tart note.
To make it happen, you need to muddle a bit of the shrub with a lemon wedge, some orange, a handful of mint leaves, and a few peach slices. After that, you turn it into a cocktail glass and top with a mountain of crushed ice, bourbon, and some additional peach slices and mint sprigs.
By the way, you can make this cocktail without the shrub. So, if you don't have the patience or desire, you can skip that step. Instead, you'll want to add in an orange liqueur like any Curaçao or even Cointreau. The cocktail will not have that sweet-tart flavor you get from the shrub, but it will be delicious all the same.
Enjoying this Bourbon Smash? Here are a few other cocktails we think you'll like:
So head to your bar and mix this up. A few sips and you’re going to swear that summer’s nowhere near over — that maybe it has even frozen in time in the form of this Bourbon Peach Citrus Smash Cocktail.
plus a few more slices for garnish
cut into two slices
plus more for garnish
or orange liqueur such as Cointreau
Make The Peach Shrub: Combine the peaches and sugar in a nonreactive bowl, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 and up to 48 hours.
Once the peaches have let off about 1 cup of liquid, strain the mixture, discard the fruit, stir in the vinegar, and stir until any accumulated sugar is dissolved.
The shrub can last stored for up to 1 month in the refrigerator. It's fabulous mixed with chilled club soda, brut sparkling wine, or in this cocktail.
Make The Bourbon Smash: Combine the peach slices, the lemon wedge, orange or mandarin, the mint leaves, and 1 ounce of the shrub (or the orange liqueur) in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle until the citrus, peach, and mint leaves are well broken up.
Turn the mixture into a rocks glass. Top with crushed ice, add the bourbon, then add more crushed ice and stir to combine. Garnish with a few mint leaves, and slices of peach serve immediately.
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