Serious Eats: Recipes

Drinking in Season: Balsamic Strawberry Smash

[Photograph: Kelly Carámbula]

Walk by a farmers market these days and you'll almost certainly be lured into a stand by the sweet smell of strawberries. It's that time of year when the little red jewels are scarlet all the way through and bursting with flavor.

Always looking for ways to bring seasonal finds into my cocktails, I started tinkering with some of my favorite strawberry flavor combinations. The result is a summery take on the classic whiskey smash. Strawberries are muddled with lemon to create a juicy base, then a little strawberry syrup is added for a bit of sweetness and to balance the tartness of the lemon. The balsamic acts as bitters, and then of course a hefty pour of bourbon is added, because what's a smash without the bourbon?

The result is a crimson cocktail with flavor as bold as the color. The strawberries and bourbon work together to create a rich and intense sweetness that is cut by the lemon and balsamic. It's the kind of cocktail that makes you do a double-take but it drinks with embarrassing ease.

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